In our Chart of the Week post from last week we presented an analysis of the number of unique biomarkers being used by leading drug developers in their clinical trials (unique biomarkers being defined as those that aren’t being used by any other companies).

This analysis generated a lot of interest, especially from our customers in diagnostics who are looking for emerging biomarkers to develop into new tests.

As a follow-up we decided to dig a little deeper to see if there is a correlation between how many unique biomarkers a drug developer is using, and the number of drug approvals the company wins.  Our hypothesis was that companies that use more innovative biomarkers are likely to have more drug approvals.

The hypothesis has indeed been proven, as unique biomarker use and drug approvals are very strongly positively correlated (ρ = 0.9) for the companies in our analysis.

We also decided to look at company size (measured in gross revenue) in relation to drug approvals, to see if the bigger companies in our analysis are likely to have more drug approvals, and here we saw a rather weak correlation (ρ = 0.4).  This was actually a surprising finding, and goes to show that you don’t have to be the biggest to drive innovation.

There are obviously a lot of factors that determine whether a drug developer wins more or less drug approvals, but biomarker use, and in particular unique biomarker use, is likely an important factor.

For the diagnostics developers out there, the list of unique biomarkers and the companies that are using them is available in BiomarkerBase, and represents an excellent list of potential targets for new tests.