Joseph A. DiMasi, PhD

Joe DiMasi

Director of Economic Analysis & Research Associate Professor




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Area of Expertise
R&D efficiency, approval success rates, development and regulatory approval time metrics, impact of regulatory policies, economics of innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries

Faculty Summary   Recently Completed Research Projects

My research interests include the R&D cost of new drug development, clinical success and phase attrition rates, development and regulatory approval times, the role that pharmacoeconomic evaluations have played in the R&D process, pricing and profitability in the pharmaceutical industry, innovation incentives for pharmaceutical R&D, and changes in the structure and performance of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

  • Risks and Regulatory Outcomes for the Development of Oncology Drugs – Approval success rates and phase transition rates were analyzed for investigational oncology drugs.
  • Risks and Regulatory Outcomes for the Development of CNS Drugs – Approval success rates and phase transition rates were analyzed for investigational central nervous system drugs.
  • Case Histories on Private Sector Contributions to Pharmaceutical Science.

Current Research Initiatives 

  • R&D Costs for New Drug Development – New estimates of the R&D cost per approved new drug will be developed for drugs as a whole, by phase of development, and molecule type.  The costs of failures and time costs will be considered.
  • Cancer Drug Development Trends – Analyses of approval success rates and phase transition rates for first and follow-on indications for oncology drugs by molecule type, as well as analysis of reasons for failure.

Selected Publications

  1. DiMasi JA, Grabowski HG. R&D Costs and returns to new drug development: a review of the evidence. In The Oxford Handbook of The Economics of the Biopharmaceutical Industry. eds. PM Danzon and S Nicholson, 2012, chapter 2:21-46. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  2. Kaitin KI, DiMasi, JA.  Pharmaceutical innovation in the 21st century: new drug approvals in the first decade, 2000-2009.  Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2011;89(2):183-188.
  3. DiMasi JA, Faden L. Competiveness in follow-on drug R&D: a race or imitation?  Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2011;10(1):23-27.
  4. DiMasi JA, Feldman L, Seckler A, Wilson A.  Trends in risks associated with new drug development: success rates for investigational drugs.  Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2010;87:272-277.
  5. Vernon J, Golec J, DiMasi JA.  Drug development costs when financial risk is measured using the Fama-French three-factor model.  Health Economic Letters 2010;19(8):1002-1005.
  6. Zycher B, DiMasi JA, Milne C.  Private sector contributions to pharmaceutical science: thirty-five summary case histories.  American Journal of Therapeutics 2010;17:101-120.
  7. DiMasi JA, Faden L.  Factors associated with multiple FDA review cycles and approval phase times.  Drug Information Journal 2009;43(2):201-225.
  8. DiMasi JA, Grabowski HG.  The cost of biopharmaceutical R&D: is biotech different?. Managerial & Decision Economics 2007;28:469-479.
  9. DiMasi JA, Paquette C.  The economics of follow-on drug R&D: trends in entry rates and the timing of development.  PharmacoEconomics 2004;22(Suppl 2):1-14.
  10. DiMasi JA, Grabowski HG, Vernon J.  R&D costs and returns by therapeutic category.  Drug Information Journal 2004; 38(3):211-223.
  11. DiMasi JA, Hansen RW, Grabowski HG.  The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development costs.  Journal of Health Economics 2003;22(2):151-85.
  12. Grabowski HG, Vernon J, DiMasi JA.  Returns on research and development for 1990s new drug introductions.  PharmacoEconomics 2002;20(Suppl 3):11-29.
  13. DiMasi JA.  The value of improving the productivity of the drug development process: faster times and better decisions.  PharmacoEconomics 2002;20(Suppl 3):1-10.
  14. DiMasi JA, Caglarcan E, Wood-Armany M.  Emerging role of pharmacoeconomics in the research and development decisionī€­-making process.  PharmacoEconomics 2001;19:753-66.
  15. DiMasi JA.  Risks in new drug development: approval success rates for investigational drugs. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2001;69:297-307.
  16. DiMasi JA.  New drug development in the United States: 1963-1999.  Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2001;69:286-96.
  17. DiMasi JA.  New drug innovation and pharmaceutical industry structure: trends in the output of pharmaceutical firms.  Drug Information Journal 2000;34:1169-94.
  18. DiMasi JA, Manocchia M.  Initiatives to speed new drug development and regulatory review: the impact of FDA-sponsor conferences.  Drug Information Journal 1997;31:771-88.
  19. DiMasi JA, Grabowski HG, Vernon J.  R&D costs, innovative output, and firm size in the pharmaceutical industry.  International Journal of the Economics of Business 1995;2:201-19.
  20. DiMasi JA, Hansen RW, Grabowski HG, Lasagna L.  Research and development costs for new drugs by therapeutic category:  a study of the US pharmaceutical industry.  PharmacoEconomics 1995;7:152-69.
  21. DiMasi JA, Hansen RW, Grabowski HG, Lasagna L.  Cost of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. Journal of Health Economics 1991;10:107-42.
  22. DiMasi JA, Kaitin KI, Fernandez-Carol C, Lasagna L.  New indications for already-approved drugs: an analysis of regulatory review times.  Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 1991;31(3):205-15.
Teaching   Awards/Recognitions
  • Guest Lecturer, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, School of Medicine, Boston University, 1996-2011
  • Guest Lecturer, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2008
  • Guest Lecturer, Harvard Extension School, Harvard University, 2007
  • Guest Lecturer, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2002
  • Guest Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1992
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Tufts University, 1987-1990
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross, 1984-1987
  • Instructor, College of the Holy Cross, 1981-1984
  • Part-time Instructor, Department of Economics, Boston College, 1980-1981
  • Who’s Who in Economics, 4th Edition – Edward Elgar Publishing: Surrey, UK, 2003
  • Donald E. Francke Award (best article in the Drug Information Journal in 2000) – Drug            Information Association, 2001
  • Doctoral Degree Representative – Graduation Ceremonies, Boston College, 1984
  • Doctoral Dissertation Development Grant – Department of Economics, Boston College, 1979
  • Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Mathematics – Department of Mathematics, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 1975
  • Massachusetts State Honor Scholarships – University of Massachusetts at Boston, 1971-1975

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Editorial Board, Drug Information Journal,1995-1999
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Economics (later called Journal of Pharmaceutical Finance, Economics & Policy), 1998-2008
  • Member, American Economic Asssociation, 1981-2012