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In 2018, a record 59 new drugs were launched — a portfolio that makes it clear that development is increasingly geared toward specialty drugs, according to a new IQVIA report.

By the numbers: Almost half launched with orphan drug status for the use that was being approved, meaning they were designed to serve small patient populations.

  • Oncology was the therapy with the most new launches — 16 — followed by infectious disease, which saw 12 launches.
  • One-third were identified as first-in-class, and 39 were specialty drugs.
  • A little less than half were approved based on trials with less than 500 people.

Small biopharmaceutical companies are playing an increasing role in the R&D ecosystem.

  • Emerging drug companies held the initial patents on 64% of the drugs launched in 2018, but about half of last year's drugs ultimately came to market via a larger pharma company.

Big Pharma is spending a huge amount on R&D. The top 15 largest companies spent more than $100 billion on R&D for the first time last year.

Go deeper: Pharma's research budgets are usually bigger than its profits

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Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 19,401,935 — Total deaths: 721,906 — Total recoveries — 11,767,805Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 4,942,747 — Total deaths: 161,367 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

The silver linings of online school

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Online learning can be frustrating for students, teachers and parents, but some methods are working.

The big picture: Just as companies are using this era of telework to try new things, some principals, teachers and education startups are treating remote learning as a period of experimentation, too.

Warren and Clinton to speak on same night of Democratic convention

(Photos: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton both are slated to speak on the Wednesday of the Democratic convention — Aug. 19 — four sources familiar with the planning told Axios.

Why it matters: That's the same night Joe Biden's running mate (to be revealed next week) will address the nation. Clinton and Warren represent two of the most influential wise-women of Democratic politics with the potential to turn out millions of establishment and progressive voters in November.