Biotech Market Matures

The future of biotech remains strong although growth may be slowing. Sales of biotechnology drugs grew 12.5% to $75,120 million last year, according to IMS Health, compared to 18.2% growth in 2006. Targeted oncology therapies, auto-immune agents, anti-diabetic agents and pure vaccines made up the majority of the market, which consisted of 134 products in total.

In 2007, 22 biotech drugs had sales of more than $1 billion, according to IMS. The top-selling drug was Amgen and Wyeth’s Enbrel ($5,290 million), followed by Amgen’s Aranep ($4,415 million), Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough’s Remicade ($4,220 million), and Roche’s Mabthera/Rituxan ($3,714 million). The top 10 biotech drugs accounted for 48% of the total market and grew 8.9%.

The top five biotechnology companies last year were Amgen (21.3% market share), Roche/Genentech (20.6%), Johnson & Johnson (8.4%), Novo Nordisk (7.8%) and Lilly (5.2%). Combined, the top 10 companies accounted for 82% of the total market as their sales increased 10.5% to $61,451 million. Biotech sales for two of the top 10 companies declined. Amgen sales fell 0.5% to $15,964 million and Johnson & Johnson’s biotech revenue declined 3.4% to $6,285 million. Abbott was the fastest growing company among the top 10 as its biotech revenue increased 39.2% to $3,145 million, making it the seventh largest biotech company. Sanofi-Aventis, the sixth largest maker of biotech drugs, also posted growth in excess of 30%, as its biotech revenue increased 33.3% to $3,201 million.

The largest therapy class for biotech drugs in 2007 was erythropoietins, with sales of $12,872 million and a 17.1% market share, according to IMS Health. However, sales of this drug class declined 9.0% last year. Erythropoietins, which include Aranep, are used to treat anemia resulting from chronic kidney disease or chemotherapy. Oncologics recorded sales of $11,365 million in 2007 and a 15.1% market share. The next three largest therapy classes were antidiabetics, which had $10,231 million in sales, autoimmune agents, which had sales of $8,357 million, and interferons, with $6,679 million in sales. Pure vaccine sales were the fastest growing among the top 10 therapy classes, increasing 172.4% in 2007 to $2,099 million. Sales of autoimmune agents increased 24.5% and oncologic sales rose 24.2%. Combined, revenues for the top 10 therapy classes increased 11.4% to $67,189 million.

The US accounted for 56% of biotech drug sales last year. North America represented 59%. Five European countries represented 24% of the market, with European sales representing 32% of the market. Japan made up 5% of biotech sales in 2007. Biotech drug sales outside of the US fell around 10%, which IMS attributed to FDA usage revisions for erythropoietins.

As for the future, biotech products now make up 25% of the current drug pipeline. Six biotech products are forecasted to be introduced this year and next, following the approval of three last year. However, IMS describes a changing biotech market, that will more resemble traditional drug market. Safety and pricing concerns, biosimilars and competition will moderate future market growth from the previous highs.

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