US magazine Genetic Engineering News has published a list of the top 10 clinical trial failures of 2013, ranked by the published financial write-down associated with the failure.
Top of the list was Sanofi’s compound Iniparib, which failed to meet its primary endpoint in the Phase III ECLIPSE trial in lung cancer and also under-performed in a Phase II trial specific to platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Discontinuation of research on the compound resulted in a €384m write-down in the first half of 2013.
Four more items on the list were also candidate cancer drugs, while two were intended to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Eli Lilly had three of the compounds listed, while the others were split between big pharma (eg, GSK, AZ, Merck) and smaller companies (eg, Ziopharm Oncology, Vical).
All of these failures related to Phase III trials, reinforcing the need to discontinue failing research earlier to reduce the financial impact of the failure.