Clinical trial fails of 2016

2016 has been a year of difficulties. From presidents being voted in in the US to the UK voting out of the EU and the myriad of celebrity deaths, a lot of people feel that 2016 has really given humanity a battering. It has also been a bad year for clinical trials, with many mistakes made in an industry that costs an awful lot of money to progress. With costs of drug development climbing, the fact that we still see a range of mistakes and failures in clinical trials is of great concern.


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Some of the failures this year have been through patient deaths, regardless of whether the drug involved was a factor; drugs that touched off-stock price falls of greater than 60 per cent; drugs with declines in small stock; and those that reduced jobs due to failure in the trial. Jobs for clinical trial assistants are on the rise, with more drugs being tested every year; however, each time there is a failure, there is a job decline – this is not much of an incentive!

The unlucky 13

According to a Forbes news article on the failures of clinical trials, the clinical trial success rate in the late stages is generally 50 per cent. This means half of all clinical trials fail before the early stages have finished. Given the money spent to get them to this stage, this is unacceptable and clinical trial assistants are being worked harder to ensure the research and development is on point.

The 13 that failed in 2016 include viral gene therapy for glioblastomas, whole cell immunotherapy for resected pancreatic cancer, and bivalent SMAC mimetic for MDS. These drugs failed for different reasons, including patient death and not meeting the right response in candidates.

Research and development

Two of the biggest clinical trials are drugs for cancer and for allergies. Companies such as recruit clinical trial research assistants to support the development of a clinical trial and the drugs involved. These assistants can then track changes and outcomes for the drugs involved in each trial.

By having the correct research assistants, the trials can be closely monitored and maintained. A successful trial is far more likely to be the outcome, which is vital for a drug to be a success.