IMS: Global biotech sales up 12.5% in 2007

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The biotech drug market grew by 12.5% to more than $75 billion in 2007, according to an IMS Health report. In 2006 the biotech market grew by 18.2%, to roughly $65 billion. 

Profits last year were driven in large part by 22 biotech products each garnering $1 billion or more in sales. By comparison, in 2002 there were only six such blockbusters, according to IMS Health. 

Outside of the US, the biotech market fell by approximately 10%. "Part of the reason for the [global] slowdown, has been the impact of revisions of usage and guidelines on [erythropoiesis stimulating agents] by the FDA. That has made a significant impact, and is a primary reason," said Murray Aitken, SVP, Healthcare Insight, IMS. Murray notes that safety concerns surrounding erythropoietins have made a big impact as well. The US represented 56% of total biotech sales in 2007,

According to the IMS Health data, Amgen (Enbrel, Aranesp, Neulasta, Epogen) was the leading biotech manufacturer in both sales and market share for 2007, at $1.6 billion and 21.3% respectively.  Roche/Genentech (Mabthera/Rituxan, Herceptin, Avastin) was second, followed by Johnson & Johnson (Remicade, Erypo/Procrit), Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly and Sanofi-Aventis. By the end of 2009, IMS Health is predicting several potential blockbusters to emerge, which could have sales of $1 billion or more. Numax, a respiratory syncytial virus manufactured by MedImmune (which was recently acquired by AstraZeneca), is one potential blockbuster. Others include Centocore's ustekinumab, Amgen's denosumab, Bristol-Myers Squibb's Ipilimumab, and the Novartis vaccine Menveo. 

Of the top 10 therapy classes in the biotech market, erythropoietins led the category, followed by oncologics, antidiabetics, autoimmune agents and interferons, according to IMS Health.  Murray says there continues to be an enormous amount of development in the oncology field, combined with significant unmet neets.

Despite significant strides, IMS Health predicts that the biotech industry will cool. Biosimilars are one of the major factors limiting growth in the market. "The regulatory pathway is being clarified by the [European Medicines Agency]," said Murray. Despite manufacturing challeges - genetically engineered protein, for example--Murray says manufacturers are moving forward. "The notion that only a very small number of companies could produce biotech products is no longer true," he said.
  

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