Pharmaceuticals may be struggling, but biotech drugs are on fire. According to an IMS Health study, global sales of biotech drugs increased 12.5 percent in 2007 to more than $75 billion; that's twice as fast as the pharmaceutical market, which increased 6.4 percent in 2007. The growth is the result of several factors, including additional indications for existing products, recent innovations, and the growth of biologic drug sales outside the U.S. Oncology, auto-immune agents, diabetes drugs and vaccines accounted for most of the growth. Last year, 22 biotech products exceeded $1 billion in sales, compared with just six products in 2002.
The forecast isn't entirely positive, however. Growth was down in 2007 compared to 2006. "Loss of exclusivity and competition from biosimilars, crowded therapy areas with weaker sales growth, payers showing more reluctance to fund innovative drugs without compelling value propositions, and safety concerns for some therapies will all contribute to a more moderate growth environment through 2012," warned Murray Aitken, the study's author. "[C]ompanies with biotech products in their portfolios will succeed only if they meet increasingly demanding regulatory standards, deploy effective commercial models that are accompanied by compelling evidence of their products' value, and develop pricing and market access strategies that ensure that patients have access to the benefits that these new products deliver."
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