This report will be followed up by our annual supplement reviewing the New Active Substance launches for the year just passed. But here, we will be entering the matrix databank, travelling through time back through 2020, and using our findings to project the course for pharma R&D as it navigates its way through one of the most turbulent periods of modern history, hopefully towards a new, gleaming, technologically advanced future.
Regular readers of this report (which has been running since 1993) will know that in recent years, I’ve threaded a different theme through each edition, to highlight points, to draw analogies, and to give a little turbo thrust into what could otherwise be a rather lengthy voyage through the subspace world of statistics, charts and tables. Themes selected so far have included astronomy, movies, the natural world, music and, last year, food and drink.
After completing the 2020 report early last February, I thought science fiction might be a fun topic for 2021’s report. Little did I know at that point that 2020 would turn out to resemble a particularly grim science fiction movie for all of us. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – or last January as I prefer to call it – the world was a very different place indeed. Sure, there was this viral outbreak in China, but we’d been through these kinds of things before with SARS, MERS, swine flu, etc, right? Surely it would just fade away as before, and we and the pharma industry would continue our relentless march into the sunlit uplands of our golden futures.