Editor's Note: In response to reader demand, the story has been updated with a chart highlighting the drug approval predictions of the contest's leading contestants to date.
) -- Meet the five smartest drug approval prognosticators in the land -- so far:
BigHerm, BioTrekker, Barca Boy, Joe and RJMCanoe have all correctly predicted the outcomes of the first five FDA drug approvals decisions in October. In doing so, these contestants sit atop the leaderboard of
FDA Drug-Approval Contest
These five contestants have the only 5-0 records out of 95 entries to the contest, so being perfect is no small feat.
Being a drug-approval skeptic appears to be the winning strategy so far. On Tuesday, the FDA approved
(ALKS - Get Report)
opioid addiction drug, but the agency has also refused to approve new drugs from
Human Genome Sciences
(JAZZ - Get Report)
(ALXA - Get Report)
BigHerm, BioTrekker, Barca Boy, Joe and RJMCanoe can revel in their audacious accomplishments for now, but don't get too comfortable because this drug-approval contest is far from over. The FDA will be making another six drug approval decisions before the end of October.
That leaves plenty of time to screw up, and there are another 19 contestants with 4-1 records nipping at the leaders' heels.
One contestant who, sadly, won't likely compete for the top spot of the contest is NS, who has managed perfection of a more dubious sort. NS is the only person to guess wrong on all five FDA drug approvals to date -- a 0-5 record.
NS is a perfect contrarian indicator so far, but there is still time for improvement. Keep that chin up, NS.
It's also interesting to the note the wisdom of the crowd. When looking collectively at the 95 entries, the accuracy rate for drug approval predictions so far is 80%. As a group, contestants correctly predicted the outcomes for Alkermes, Jazz, Human Genome and Alexza. The only wrong guess so far was Hospira.
The true test of the crowd's wisdom will come later this month when the FDA announces approval decisions for drugs from
Forty-three percent of contestants say Avanir gets full approval, while 37% are predicting a complete response letter and another 20% says no decision.
For Biodel, 24% predict full approval, 57% predict a complete response letter and 19% say no decision.
As for my performance to date, I'm sitting in the middle of the pack with a 3-2 record. My biggest mistake has been under-estimating the efficiency of the FDA. I guessed "no decision" for both Hospira and Alexza, thinking that FDA would have to kick some of these drug approval decisions down the road given the agency's heavy workload this month.