Experimental drugs face steep odds. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), out of every 5,000 to 10,000 compounds that enter the discovery and development pipeline, just 5 enter clinical trials, and only 1 receives approval. Other sources suggest that 12–16% of drugs that reach clinical trials eventually reach the market.
Besides having a high attrition rate, the discovery and development process is lengthy and costly. “On average, it takes 10–15 years for a new medicine to complete the journey from initial discovery to the marketplace,” PhRMA notes. “The average R&D investment for each new medicine is $1.2 billion, including the cost of failures.”