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Biotech Market Downturn: Impact on Clinical Trials


Last week Biogen announced 1000 job losses across the business, the cuts are expected to save $700 million per year. The job losses are said to be global, and taking places across the entire organisation, with the exact number of roles and functions at risk unknown.


Whilst this is happening Biogen are forging ahead with acquiring Reata Pharmaceuticals, rare disease specialist for $7.3 billion. Providing Biogen with the FDA approved drug Skyclarys.


The world economy continues to face challenges in 2023. High inflation, rising interest rates, and lingering impacts from the pandemic have led to slower growth and concerns about a potential recession.


Just over 100 biotech and pharmaceutical companies announced job cuts in the first half of 2023, a mix of both commercial, discovery, and clinical stage – demonstrating a squeeze on capital, and streamlining across the industry.


Clinical Trials Data

New Clinical Trials (# per Year)

2021: 37,017

2022: 38,032

2023 (as of August 24th): 26,237


When looking into the 2022 trial data, this averages out is 3,169 monthly. The current run rate for 2023 is 3,279 per month. Demonstrating an increase year on year of 110 new clinical trials per month.


Worth noting, the number of new clinical trials last decreased year on year during the 2008 ‘Great Recession’, where the decrease was felt the following year (2008: 17,564, 2009: 17,008), and even so this was a minor decrease of only 556.

This may indicate that in the next few years, either 2024 or 2025, we may seen a slight reduction in clinical activity – but this is yet to be seen.



CRO Indicators


Joel White, CRO market commentator at Marketcap Consulting recently published his Q2 Earnings Review where, most notably, he comments that ‘Charles River… expects pressure over the coming quarters due to “reprioritising pipelines and tightening R&D budgets” and a “more cautious biopharma spending environment”. Which could be the negative sign of less drug candidates making it into the clinic as pre-clinical biopharma tighten their belts.



Now a bit about us!


If you’re a clinical trials executive likely to be impacted by the downturn, there is no better time to broaden your network. We have 2 events scheduled to close off this year, providing a great opportunity to network with pharma, biotech, health, CROs and FSPs to seek out new opportunities.

Attendance to the COG series is complimentary – even better!




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