Measuring unmet medical need to inform R&D decisions

A drug’s value is determined by how much it reduces unmet medical need.  The greater the reduction in need, the greater the value to society and the higher the commercial return to the developer.  Equinox Group measures unmet medical need and the impact that a new drug has on it. We do this using objective data taken from the peer-reviewed literature, and analyze that information with a rigorous and consistent method. The results of this analysis provide unique insights to inform decisions at all phases of R&D.

Components of Unmet Medical Need

Efficacy cure, prophylactic success, symptom relief, slowing of progression, damage reversal, pharmacokinetics
Safety / Tolerability frequency and severity of each side effect; warnings and monitoring requirements
Convenience mode and frequency of dosing
Mortality age-adjusted excess risk of mortality
Morbidity pain, disability, hospitalization, quality of life, complications
Costs direct (drug and non-drug) and indirect
Impact of Efficacy impact of efficacy on mortality, morbidity, and cost

To quantify unmet medical need we measure product attributes (efficacy, safety/tolerability, and dosing) and disease burden – the mortality, morbidity, and costs inflicted by a disease. The higher the disease burden, the higher the potential for reducing medical need and creating value. A new drug’s ability to reduce disease burden strongly influences physicians’ willingness to prescribe, payers’ willingness to reimburse, and therefore the drug’s market penetration.

(For Equinox Group’s white paper on this subject, please click here.)

Informing R&D Decisions
Assessing the potential value of a new drug program during the early stages of R&D vastly reduces wasted time and budget, because it cuts the risk of developing programs with low commercial potential. The cost to estimate the potential value of a program is insignificant compared with the cost of development. So estimating value should be one of the earliest “experiments” to assess the merits of a program. Furthermore, as the understanding of a drug’s clinical attributes evolves, the updated data can be quickly analyzed in our framework to inform both the decision to advance the program and the choice of patient segments to pursue.

Please call or email us about your need to assess unmet medical need. We welcome the chance to discuss the challenges you face.

Walter Brooks
Vice President
Equinox Group