Biopharma Industry Set to See New Technologies and New Therapies

October 2, 2012
Stephanie Sutton

Stephanie Sutton was an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.

A new report has forecast that the global biopharmaceutical market will be worth more than $320 billion by 2020, up from just $138 billion in 2011.

A new report has forecast that the global biopharmaceutical market will be worth more than $320 billion by 2020, up from just $138 billion in 2011. According to global business intelligence firm GBI Research, annual revenues for biopharmaceuticals have been rising year on year since 2001. In 2011, biopharmaceuticals accounted for 15.6% of the total pharmaceutical market.

In the bio/pharma industry, headlines are often dominated by jobs cuts, failed clinical trials or forecasts for poor revenue, so it’s always refreshing to read about something that suggests a brighter future. According to GBI Research, the next decade could see a paradigm shift in biomanufacturing technologies, including improvements in equipment efficiency and the introduction of novel therapies. In particular, disposable bioprocessing equipment and microbial technologies are expected to dominate the manufacturing environment and become the “hallmark” of biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Single-use systems are currently mainly used in upstream processing, but such equipment is also beginning to see increased use in preclinical and clinical trials. Microbial manufacturing, on the other hand, is already well accepted and proven, and has also led to the discovery of new subsidiary technologies. Recombinant proteins produced by mammalian cell culture processes have been successful in generating revenues of more than $1 billion for the biopharmaceutical industry.

Biosimilars

The report also has good news for manufacturers of biosimilar products. GBI Research predicts that biosimilars will grow to take up a “sizeable chunk” of the global biopharmaceuticals market by 2020, aided by the huge growth potential in pharmerging markets in Asia, as well as new US legislation that will enable biosimilars to finally begin entering the US market in 2014. In the US alone, revenues for biosimilars are expected to reach $9 billion by 2020.

Outside of the US, in emerging pharmaceutical markets such as India, China and South Korea, the emergence of biosimilars is seen as an important macroeconomic factor for generating revenues by attracting foreign investment. India’s biosimilars sector is predicted to treble in value in the next five years, from $481 million in 2011 to $1.4 billion in 2016. More than 20 biosimilar companies are currently operating in India, with around 55 products already on the market. India has the advantage of more lenient intellectual property regulations (although this is not viewed as a benefit for pharmaceutical companies, which means that biosimilars for certain products are already available in India, such as Enbrel and Rituxan, even though they are still under patent exclusivity in many western countries).

Meanwhile, several Chinese companies are planning large-scale distribution strategies in western countries, while the government in South Korea has announced capital and institutional support to boost biopharmaceutical manufacturing, with the aim of acquiring a 22% share of the global biosimilars market by 2020.

The report, Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing in India, China and South Korea - Regulatory Framework, Infrastructure Support and Discovery Funding Create an Environment Conductive to Growth, is available from GBI Research.

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