It has been a long and challenging road for the industry of biotechnology. However, few of the critiques claimed that results in the biotech industry have been insufficient and that the industry has become accustomed to failures.
The principal cause of the failure of scientists’ and professionals’ efforts has been pandemics such as COVID-19. There have always been trials that have collapsed for a variety of reasons, including the adverse effects of their patrons and their patients. Some of the bigger firms can end up disappointed because of the exerted investments and missed business opportunities. Meanwhile, smaller companies can show the results of their efforts.
On the other hand, emphasis is placed on the studies that failed to detect disease symptoms and had no approval that could have provided a clinically beneficial step in treatment. In most cases, the list is likely to include includes both large and small businesses in the biotech sector.
The ALVAC HIV/AIDSvax B/E
In February, many top Life science consulting firms claimed that experts in South Africa had completed a substantial study involving two combined vaccines, one from GlaxoSmithKline and one from Sanofi, concluding that it did not provide any additional protection against the disease of HIV.
This was also evident in the stage 2b/3 clinical trial, HVTN 702, which examined the combination, overall, in approximately 5,400 sexually active women and men between the ages of 18-35. It included a canarypox-based vaccine, which was an important part of the combination, developed by Sanofi Pasteur and marketed as ALVAC-HIV. Another vaccine introduced by GSK was a two-factor, subunit vaccine of the gp120 protein. A total of 129 infections were collected from the produced vaccine, compared to 123 infections from the placebo arm. Overall, both groups experienced around 4% yearly infection rates.
Three Failed Attempts of Edasalonexent
As stated by several biotechnology consulting firms, the year 2020 will be remembered for at least one late-stage disappointment in the drug development industry for Duchenne muscular dystrophy; the demise of Catabasis’ edasalonexent was particularly felt.
However, the program was initially at high risk since the beginning. In 2017, the edasalonexent was declared to be a failure and moved to the needle trial within the mid-stage of the study. In contrast, Catabasis plowed ahead with research at the stage of 3 PolarisDMD, focused on developing a drug that eliminated both the primary as well as secondary functions of the medicine.
The Discontinuation of Epanova
Epanov, the fish oil-based drug delivered by AstraZeneca and Amarin followed in the footsteps of Amarin’s best-selling Vascepa. This program indicated that the drug should remove the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with high lipid levels – a condition considered to be prevalent by its creator, stating that it is likely to lose its protective qualities.
In January, the firm abandoned its product development of Epanova (omega-3 carboxylic acids) phase 2 research as an addition to the other compounds that work on decreasing the cardiovascular threats among the patients and mixing dyslipidemia, an illness characterized by high cholesterol levels.
The Hope of Autism: Balovaptan
Historically, it tends to be the biggest disappointment when a drug attempts to treat a condition without any prior approval and hits the wall. In this specific instance, Roche appears to have abandoned balovaptan just this year, which was one of the most promising treatments for the entire (ASD) Autism Spectrum Disorder.
As a result, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has identified that one in 59 children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The disorder, however, also affects the social interaction and the communication skills, which also include other symptoms, like repetitive behaviors.
Taking a broad look at the challenges faced by the biotech industry in 2020, it can be argued that the year has been quite challenging for the professionals in this field, and overcoming challenges led to failures.