The growth in the global biosimilars market is continuing to accelerate ata remarkable rate, drivenby an increasing interest in cheaper versions of major drug brands as health services try to reduce spiralling drug bills.

One of the companies which has highlighted the recent growth is pharmaceutical industry analyst visiongain, which forecasts that the biosimilars market worldwide will be worth $16.03 billion in 2019, a five-fold increase on last year. The report, entitled Biosimilars and Follow- On Biologics: World Industry and Market Prospects 2015-2025, covers a wide range of treatments, including monoclonal antibodies and fusion proteins, insulins, erythropoietin, interferons, human growth hormone and fertility hormones. Arshad Ahad, a pharmaceutical industry analyst for visiongain, said:“Biologics are crucial for the treatment of many serious chronic disorders such as cancer, diabetes, hepatitis and autoimmune diseases. However, those effective but highly complex therapies come at a price, with some treatments costing more than $75,000 a year. “Biosimilars can offer the benefits of branded biologic therapies but at a lower price, making them more affordable for individual patients, as well as entire nations, in the face of restricted healthcare budgets. “With patents for many blockbuster biologics set to expire over the next ten years, we predict the biosimilars market will grow rapidly between now and 2025, achieving high revenues. “However, it will face many challenges, including opposition from originator companies, expensive and lengthy development times and fragmentation of the market.

Nevertheless, as the long-awaited approval of the first biosimilar in the US in 2015 shows, biosimilars are here to stay and their rise to prominence is just beginning. A second visiongain report found that the industry generated revenue of an estimated $3.25bn in 2014 alone and that more major companies are becoming involved as they acknowledge the threat to their businesses from the cheaper versions. According to Pharma Leader Series: Top 25 Biosimilar Drug Manufacturers 2015-2025, developing countries, especially China and India, will see more companies entering the biosimilars industry and becoming bigger national players between now and 2025. Researchers working for visiongain attribute this to the fact that both countries have an ageing population and a growing demand for cheaper healthcare. They says that the investment, coupled with the growing expertise, could result in Chinese and Indian companies dominating the biosimilars industry. Bochung Lam, a healthcare industry analyst for visiongain, said:“Biosimilars are no longer a niche concept in the pharmaceutical business. Biosimilars are a reality, and the threat they pose to the revenue of originator pharmaceutical companies is very real. At the same time, they also represent a huge opportunity for the same companies that they threaten.

This is leading more innovative pharmaceutical companies to develop biosimilars in an attempt to enter that lucrative and growing business. “Our study notes several big pharma companies already have R&D pipelines for biosimilar production and are in late-stage development or clinical trial phases. They are tackling the threat that biosimilars pose by looking to make it part of their business models. This is also leading to partnerships with biosimilar manufacturers in an attempt to enter the business, as well as acquisitions of biosimilar companies as the large firms look to expand their businesses. visiongain expects the trend to continue from 2015 to 2025, as the biosimilars market expands and matures, opening up vast revenue potential. Bochung said:“We believe that fast developing medical industry will continue to grow from 2015 to 2025, achieving vast increases in sales. visiongain has high expectations of the biosimilar market and for prominent companies that operate in it.

A third report from visiongain forecasts that the overall world market for biosimilar monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) alone will exceed $4bn by 2020. Biosimilar Monoclonal Antibodies: World Industry and Market Outlook 2015-2025 predicts that the biosimilar mAbs market will multiply in size from 2015 to 2025. Alyscia Curtis, a pharmaceutical industry analyst for visiongain, said:“The future of the biosimilar mAbs market looks promising with a number of drugs in the R&D pipeline. “In 2014, several companies have established presences in the biosimilars mAbs market. Although that overall market was worth just $114m in 2014, visiongain predicts it to exceed $4bn by 2020, with high further rises.

“Biosimilars marketThe growth and growth of the Biosimilars can offerthe benefits of brandedbiologic therapies butat a lower price, makingthem more affordablefor individual patients, as well as entire nations, in the face of restrictedhealthcare budgets.”

Arshad Ahad

Pharmaceutical industry analyst for visiongain