Project Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Achieving Good Governance

4 people in a dark lab wearing white lab coats analysing reports. there are test tubes and a telescope in the background. There is also a pink and blue gradient cora lens logo in the back middle of image.

In 2016, the FDA approved less than 50% of the drugs compared to the year before. 

This white paper on project management in the pharmaceutical industry explains why that was, and explores the latest cost models involved in bringing a drug from discovery to the patient.

We chronicle some of the challenges that pharma companies face today around visibility, standardization, measurement, and process improvement.


“Even though technology has changed the Pharmaceutical landscape forever, the scientific processes and methodologies are still understandably thoughtful, deliberate, and oftentimes slow. Speeding up research projects has dangerous consequences. Making scientists accountable for success-driven projects is also fraught with danger.

On average, it takes at least ten years for a new medicine to complete the journey from initial discovery to the marketplace, with clinical trials alone taking six to seven years on average. How do we, or should we increase scientific productivity? Pharma’s output level has remained more or less at a stable level for the past decade. And there is little reason to believe that this productivity will suddenly increase any time soon. Precision or personalized medicine, to get the right patient the right treatment at the right dose, the first time can potentially be addressed by technological advancements.

The harsh reality is that through increased consumer demand, shorter research and development lifecycles, and cut-throat competition, the pharmaceutical industry is moving faster than ever. Some would argue that pharmaceutical companies suffer from a legacy of “the old guard” style of management where the cultural environment can feel similar to the public sector. Massive organizations need to change and change fast if they are to survive. “

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