A framework for comparing R&D productivity at big pharma companies vs. biotech startups


Biopharmaceutical research and development (R&D) productivity has been steadily declining for several decades.  Preliminary evidence suggests that this trend is stabilizing or reversing.  One hypothesis explaining this improvement in R&D productivity is that the industry has shifted early-stage R&D activity from large multinational pharmaceutical companies to more smaller venture-backed startup companies.  We examine recent trends in FDA approvals and biopharmaceutical R&D investment to develop a framework to evaluate whether small companies are more productive at R&D than larger companies.

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