Axzons Blog

Sept 07

It’s no secret: Oncology drug development has a significant failure rate. Recent data from the

Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development finds the success rate for cancer compounds is only 13.4%. It is a low number, though paradoxically, that reduction is a good thing. It tells us that we are now more willing to fail drugs that won’t work, which saves time and money, and creates opportunities for teams to refocus their attention elsewhere. 

It also protects patients from participating in clinical trials treatments that are doomed to fail. From an ethical standpoint, we have to safeguard patients’ interests, which mean not giving them a drug that has already failed because you are hoping to get lucky this time around. 

This has always been a challenge for drug developers. These molecules are their babies and they want to do everything they can to transform them into successful treatments. When a drug isn’t working, it can be painful to cut it loose, but we have to learn to be dispassionate. As soon as you realize a drug isn’t going anywhere, you have to cut your losses, and put those resources into another project with more promise.


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