In 2010, Morgan Stanley urged pharmaceutical companies to “Exit Research and Create Value”: an attractive proposition for those executives who had been seeing R&D consume enormous resources while generating limited returns. The reality today is more complicated. Integrated pharmaceutical companies remain dependent on R&D to create their future products, but they know that their R&D model can always be better. For all but the very largest pharmaceutical companies the option to acquire de-risked or near-market assets is unattractive given prohibitive capital requirements. So excellent R&D is as essential to pharmaceutical companies’ success as it always has been. It is simply too dangerous to hope that others will constantly produce compounds and drugs in your chosen commercial area at a price that is affordable to in-licence or acquire. Pharma companies need to manage R&D to create value.

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