Decision-making is a core function of any drug development firm. Developing drugs demands a firm to be highly innovative, while at the same time the activity is strictly regulated. Successful drug development offers the right to apply for a long-term patent that confers exclusive marketing rights. This article addresses the issue of what constitutes an adequate portfolio of drugs for a drug development firm and how it might be managed successfully. The paper investigates decision-making in the industry and specifically in the development of oncology drugs from various perspectives: the need for decisions, their timing, decision-making at the project level, the optimal portfolio, tools for portfolio analysis, the evaluation of patents, and finally the importance of the drug portfolio. Drug development decisions as important organizational elements should get more emphasis, and decisions in drug portfolio using modern decision-making methods should be used more widely than what currently happens. Structured, informed decisions would help avoiding late terminations of drugs in Phase III development. An improved research and development pipeline and drug portfolio management are the major elements in the general strategy targeting success.
Keywords: clinical oncology; company organization; decision-making; drug development; pipeline; portfolio; portfolio analysis; product management.