By Ashok Kumar, President, Centre for Research & Development, IPCA
The global biologic drug market, valued at $200 billion and expected to reach $300 billion by 2020, is becoming a key part of patient treatment.1 Fueling this growth is a steady stream of new drug approvals in recent years for targeted therapies tackling important unmet biological needs. There is also growing adoption of personalized medicines, where scientific advances allow doctors to customize treatments based on refined diagnostic testing and individual patient characteristics.
This dynamic market stands to change dramatically over the next few years, as a group of biologic drugs with combined sales of over $100 billion will face patent expiration, paving the way for an explosion of the biosimilar industry.2 Biosimilars are close to but not entirely identical to the generic, off-patent versions of small molecule medicines common in the pharmaceutical market. They offer commercial opportunities for traditional generics companies that are challenged by a very competitive and price-sensitive market; yet, they also appeal to traditional biologics manufacturers that can leverage their existing infrastructures and expertise in the production of these complex medicines.
As companies begin to explore new markets, they apply not just creative thinking to discovery and development but also common sense. This tried-and-true approach to business also applies to biosimilars. By doing so, the industry can discover ways to sustain not just the success of a product but also the long-term life of the biosimilar industry.