Investment in new pain and addiction treatments falls short, says BIO study

David Thomas and Chad Wessel of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO) Industry Analysis team, authors of The State of Innovation in Pain and Addiction, maintain that additional funding is required to address the public health concern as a result of the 44% drop in clinical programs for pain and addiction treatment therapies over the past five years.

From 220 in 2017, there are currently just 124 active clinical drug programs for treating pain, marking a staggering drop of 44%. Despite the rise in addiction treatments, phase II success rates are still the lowest at only 39.

Additionally, the likelihood that a medicine will be approved is low. Just 0.7% of novel painkillers receive FDA clearance in their final form, compared to 6.5% across all illness categories.

No more unique-targeted, non-addictive therapies for chronic pain have been licensed in the recent five years, with the exception of seven new migraine medications. One new drug has been approved for addiction, although it is only new in the United States. It has been sold in the U.K. since 1992 for the treatment of opioid withdrawal.

Pain and addiction companies received just 1.3% of all therapeutic venture capital investments in 2021. In contrast, oncology businesses received 38.3% of venture capital financing.

“Venture capital into U.S. companies with novel drug programs in pain totaled $0.86 billion over the last 10 years. By comparison, oncology venture investment raised during the same 10 years was $35.7 billion,” the report states.

On Tuesday, February 7 at 9 a.m. E.T., David Thomas, SVP of Industry Research and Analysis at BIO, will speak about the study. You may expect coverage from us as well as an exclusive interview.

Read the full report at

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