13 (Lucky) Years Of Innovation

June 29, 2020 11:34 am

Apple released its first iPhone 13 years ago, on June 29, 2007. To mark this anniversary, we wanted to look at the most innovative and important drug developments that have happened since we all started carrying computers in our pockets. (There has been so much innovation that the drugs listed come in addition to earlier look back at development between 2010 and 2019.)


First, as ChemDiv explains, it is worth noting that, overall, “in the last few years, the evolution of science has moved at an exponential rate. Presently, medical research has become so profound and widespread that there is now an array of treatments for even the most lethal diseases in the world. Only a few years back, cures for these diseases were unimaginable.”


That site lists treatments for malaria and acute heart failure, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ combination to treat cystic fibrosis, as some of the most important advancements in the last 13 years.


Business Insider discussed several new breakthroughs in 2018, including approval of Aimovig, a preventive treatment for migraines, and new drugs that could aid in treating and preventing the progression of ovarian cancer. In a 2017 report, meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research noted that it approved “the first new treatment for patients with sickle cell disease in almost 20 years and the first-ever non-blood product to treat patients with hemophilia A with inhibitors.”


STAT News discussed the most important breakthroughs from 2010 to 2019 in this podcast. The podcasters highlighted developments in cancer immunotherapy, treatments for diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.


In just the last year, the U.S. FDA has approved:


- The first drug for children suffering from lupus. The FDA noted that while lupus in children is rare, “it is generally more active in children and adolescents than adult patients, particularly in how it impacts organs such as the kidneys and central nervous system.”


- The first drug for a rare form of connective-tissue cancer. Tazverik, which was developed by Cambridge, Mass.-based Epizyme, will treat epithelioid sarcoma in patients whose disease is ineligible for complete surgical removal.


- AstraZeneca and Merck’s ovarian cancer drug Lynparza, which is a first-line maintenance therapy for patients with BRCA gene mutations whose cancer had spread beyond the pancreas and whose tumors did not worsen after chemotherapy of at least 16 weeks.


There are hundreds more drugs in development as well.


The American Journal of Managed Care notes, “The oncology drug pipeline has experienced rapid growth over the past decade, driven by innovation in cell therapies, immunotherapy, and precision medicine.” Indeed, according to CURE—Cancer Updates, Research and Education—there are currently more than 700 new therapies in development for people with cancer.


According to PhRMA, there are nearly 7,000 medicines in development, 74 percent of which are potentially first-in-class. These treatments could provide further hope for patients with cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.


And how would proposed drug-pricing policies impact this pipeline?


The Center for Biosimilars spoke to Molly Burich, director of public policy for biosimilars and pipeline at Boehringer Ingelheim. Burich noted, research and development is “a hallmark” of the United States. When asked how price controls would impact the availability of life-saving treatments in the United States, she said, “[M]ost countries are behind the United States in terms of having access to products. I don’t think any of us want a system that will lead to delayed access for patients.”


Well said.