Estimating Probabilities of Success of Vaccine and Other Anti-Infective Therapeutic Development Programs

Edward Golding, Executive Director MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy; Former Head of FHA

(Consistent with the GCFP’s mission of non-partisanship and offering analysis but not policy advice, any recommendations contained in GCFP blog posts are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the GCFP.)

In a paper published in the Harvard Data Science Review on May 14, 2020, the co-director of GCFP, Andrew Lo, along with his co-authors Kien Wei Siah and Chi Heem Wong, estimate the probability of success (PoS) of vaccines and therapeutics. Analyzing 2,544 vaccine programs and 6,829 nonvaccine programs targeting infectious diseases, they find:

“The overall estimated PoS for an industry-sponsored vaccine program is 39.6%, and 16.3% for an industry-sponsored anti-infective therapeutic. … Non-industry-sponsored vaccine and nonvaccine development programs have lower overall PoSs: 6.8% and 8.2%, respectively.”

This paper is very informative when making policy decisions about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full text of the paper here.