Orphan drug development across Europe: bottlenecks and opportunities
With the assignment of the 500th European Union orphan drug designation in 2007, the Regulation on Orphan Medicinal Products truly begins to show its potential for delivering new medicines to patients with rare diseases. Here, we analysed European orphan drug development at a national level and unveil a strong relationship between orphan drug development and pharmaceutical innovation performance in Europe. Moreover, we identify gaps in transition from science into orphan drug development as important bottlenecks that exist in several European countries. Our findings underline the importance of innovation-based policies to enhance the development of orphan drugs in Europe.