Not a large number considering the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) citation that for every 5,000 to 10,000 compounds that enter the pipeline, only one receives approval (3)

Even medicines that reach clinical trials have only a 7-15% chance of being approved (4,5), in large part because it has been so hard to translate promising preclinical findings to efficacy in patients (6).

One widely-publicised figure by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development in Cambridge, MA, suggests it can cost as much as US$2.6 billion to develop and win marketing approval for a single new prescription drug (7 ) – that is to develop new molecular entities for which pharmaceutical companies did all of the research – and even the more conservative figures cited by industry suggest a price tag of around US$1 billion (8).

Today, the grim reality is that developing even the next first-in-class diabetes drug is really risky, and the risk is even higher for a disease such as Alzheimer’s, where the overall success rate for drug candidates has been a dismal .........

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