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Molecular Therapy: Nucleic Acids



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The long path from initial research on oligonucleotide therapies to approval of antisense products is not unfamiliar. This lag resembles those encountered with monoclonal antibodies, gene therapies, and many biological targets and is consistent with studies of innovation showing that technology maturation is a critical determinant of product success. We previously described an analytical model for the maturation of biomedical research, demonstrating that the efficiency of targeted and biological development is connected to metrics of technology growth. The present work applies this model to characterize the advance of oligonucleotide therapeutics. We show that recent oligonucleotide product approvals incorporate technologies and targets that are past the established point of technology growth, as do most of the oligonucleotide products currently in phase 3. Less mature oligonucleotide technologies, such as miRNAs and some novel gene targets, have not passed the established point and have not yielded products. This analysis shows that oligonucleotide product development has followed largely predictable patterns of innovation. While technology maturation alone does not ensure success, these data show that many oligonucleotide technologies are sufficiently mature to be considered part of the arsenal for therapeutic development. These results demonstrate the importance of technology assessment in strategic management of biomedical technologies.


ª 2017 The Authors.

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