Over the past few years, AstraZeneca has been redefining itself as an oncology powerhouse following a restructuring of its discovery programs in its core areas of disease focus. For its efforts, the U.K. pharma giant tops a new list due to the “novelty and breadth of its pipeline.”

AstraZeneca has topped the first annual Pharmaceutical Invention Index, released by IDEA Pharma. The newly-launched index takes a focused look at the breadth and depth of novel agents currently being developed within the most innovative pharmaceutical pipelines. Alongside the Pharmaceutical Innovation Index, which ranks companies for their ability to add value to or derive value from their pipeline, the Invention Index provides a more forward-looking view, of who is developing medicines that matter, embracing science and innovations in R&D, IDEA Pharma said in its announcement.

“There’s a critical distinction between invention and innovation – success is achieved by discovering and developing meaningfully great medicines (invention) and getting those medicines to market, and to patients (innovation). It is wonderful to see a company of AstraZeneca’s scale and history able to turn around its fortunes in a relatively short period of time,” IDEA Pharma’s chief executive officer Mike Rea said in a statement.

Over the past year, AstraZeneca has posted some significant wins for the company, particularly with its PARP inhibitor Lynparza, which has dazzled in multiple cancer trials. In addition to Lynparza, AstraZeneca has other cancer drugs that are making waves, including Imfinzi and Calquence. AstraZeneca is also flexing its muscles in other indications. In September, Brilanta posted positive Phase III results in patients with coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The drug decreased risks of cardiovascular (CV) death, heart attack, or stroke by 10% when combined with aspirin. In another clinical success, diabetes drug Farxiga reduced mortality rates or worsening of heart failure by 26% in patients who had previously had reduced ejection fraction heart failure. Farxiga won approval for that indication in October.

In addition to its powerhouse pipeline, AstraZeneca has been advancing its own use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in its drug discovery efforts. After forging a partnership with AI-focused Schrodinger in September, AstraZeneca said that the use of big data and artificial intelligence turns “yesterday’s science fiction into today’s reality with the aim of enabling the translation of innovative science into life-changing medicines.” In addition to Schrodinger, AstraZeneca has a long-term collaboration with BenevolentAI to use big data in the development of new drugs for chronic kidney disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

AstraZeneca underwent a restructuring earlier this year with an increased focus on oncology. The U.K. pharma giant brought in former Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Chief Medical Officer José Baselga as its new head of oncology research and discovery. The new index consists of four key metrics, the proportion of pipeline to marketed drugs, the number of trials investigating novel agents, the proportion of “novel” regulatory designations and an assessment of the companies’ R&D investments. IDEA said data is taken objectively to evaluate the company and produce an independent score in order to create the ranking.

AstraZeneca took the pole position on the IDEA list after the company scored “exceptionally well” across all four metrics. AstraZeneca “boasted a high proportion of pipeline to marketed drugs, a large number of trials investigating novel drugs, a good proportion of ‘novel’ regulatory designations, and a healthy R&D investment track record, as well as a commitment to incremental systematic improvements,” IDEA Pharma said in its announcement.

The Pharmaceutical Invention Index rankings are:

1. AstraZeneca
2. Celgene
3.Eli Lilly
4. Novartis
5. AbbVie
and Vertex
6. Bristol-Myers Squibb
7. Regeneron
8. Daiichi Sankyo
9. GlaxoSmithKline
10. Biogen

Earlier this year, AstraZeneca took the no. 17 spot on BioSpace’s Top 30 Life Sciences Ideal Employer list.



BioSpace source: