Below is a list of the top 10 biopharma clinical trial failures of 2013, ranked by the size of the writedowns associated with the trial outcome. The company with the greatest presence on this year’s failure list is Eli Lilly, with three compounds for which it wrote down a combined $105 million in 2013. To be fair, Lilly is continuing development of one of the compounds in other indications, and evaluating the long-term maintenance effect of another, so either or both of these could yet advance clinically this year despite the failed trials.
Interestingly, five of the top 10 clinical trial failures listed below were for cancer indications, followed by two for rheumatoid arthritis candidates, and one each for investigational heart disease, depression, and asthma drugs.
Four of the top 10 failures arose from collaborations in which smaller companies licensed their compounds to a biopharma giant, with the potential promise of hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars when milestone payments and royalties are accounted for. For those collaborations, this list includes, within footnotes, the money gained and lost out by the smaller partner stemming from the failure.