Although cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of adults worldwide, cardiovascular drug trials have plateaued over the past 20 years, according to a new study. Many developers are making the same mistakes over and over again, leading to trial failures and proving to investors that cardiovascular drugs are a poor use of their money. Pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms who wish to address this public health crisis must learn what mistakes to avoid and what innovations to apply in order to fill this growing need in the market.
Safety and Innovation as Top Concern
The study by JACC: Basic to Translational Science, a free journal of the American College of Cardiology–notes that most cardiovascular drugs falter in the early stages because they are proven to be unsafe, with ineffective medications cited as the second most common reason for the pharmaceutical trials to end early.
Another serious issue is lack of innovation. Many of the drugs being tested are simply rehashing the formulas of widely available pharmaceutical products that are already available on the market–lipid-lowering agents, anticoagulants, and antihypertensive agents. Because these drugs were not as effective as others that are already commercially available, the trials faltered.
Identifying New Markers
Part of the reason for this lack of innovation, according to the study, is that there simply hasn’t been enough research into root causes of cardiovascular disease. When the primary known causes are elevated lipid and platelet levels and high blood pressure, pharmaceuticals will naturally address those causes; however, people who are on lipid-lowering agents, anticoagulants, and antihypertensive agents still die of cardiovascular disease, showing that developers must research other causes.
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The Role of CROs
Because they specialize in innovative research trials, a CRO may be enormously helpful in jumpstarting the cardiovascular pharmaceutical industry. Highly qualified CROs have already provided over a thousand novel cancer medications in the past year. Because they have overseen multiple clinical trials, CROs can help companies avoid the mistakes that they may have made in the past and can point research in new directions.
Cardiovascular medication is more than an empty niche in the market–it is a lifesaving service. Pharmaceutical companies who invest in it will be doing an enormous favor to themselves and others.