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December 23, 2019

Overview of industry-sponsored clinical trials in the UK, 2019

Novartis is the top sponsor, holding 4.9% of clinical trials, narrowly outnumbering AstraZeneca, which sponsored 4.6% of trials.

By GlobalData Healthcare

GlobalData analysed the number of industry-sponsored clinical trials in the UK with a start date between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019, the data was extracted on 17 December 2019. 

As displayed in Figure 1, the largest proportion of trials were in Phase III (40.3%), followed closely by Phase II trials (35.5%). Phase I clinical trials significantly outnumbered Phase IV studies, with 18.9% and 5.3% of trials respectively. Multinational trials (78.9%) significantly outnumbered single-country studies (21.1%), with the most striking variation seen in Phase III trials, where multinational studies hold a 99% greater proportion of Phase III studies. Phase I studies remain the only phase with a greater proportion of single-country trials; owing to their typically smaller size, this is not surprising. 

As shown in Figure 2, Novartis is the top sponsor, holding 4.9% of clinical trials, narrowly outnumbering AstraZeneca, which sponsored 4.6% of trials. Merck accounted for the third-highest proportion of trials (4.0%), followed by GlaxoSmithKline (3.3%), with Roche and Johnson & Johnson holding joint fifth place with each accounting for 2.9% of trials. 

Oncology is the most frequently investigated therapy area, accounting for the largest proportion of studies (25.8%); consequently, the top five indications are within the oncology therapeutic area. Solid tumours are the most researched indication, accounting for 5.5% of studies, followed by Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (4.0%), Breast Cancer (3.1%), Prostate Cancer (2.6%), and Colorectal Cancer (2.4%). With the exclusion of solid tumours, the top indications mirror those of the most commonly occurring cancers in the UK as listed by Cancer Research UK, highlighting industry sponsors’ ability to target the largest indications with a potential to produce the most significant returns on investment. 

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