Demand for biologics set to grow rapidly in the States

Published: 1-Feb-2003

Demand for biologics in the US will increase by 11% a year to reach US$55bn (€52bn) in 2006, according to a new study published by US industrial market research company The Freedonia Group, of Cleveland, OH.

New product introductions will lead growth as advances in recombinant DNA and monoclonal antibodies enable drug researchers to develop better medicines for cancer, infectious and viral disorders and autoimmune diseases.

Combined demand for conventional biologics will show an annual rise of 6.4% over the same period, held back by competition for bioengineered products. In contrast, conventional vaccines will record above-average sales increases ; up to 2006, this growth will be dominated by preventative agents for pneumococcal disease and influenza, but thereafter demand will accelerate rapidly as new cancer and AIDS preparations evolve into blockbuster products, the study predicts.

The top-selling class of biologics will be recombinant proteins, with demand rising by more than 13% a year to exceed $24bn (€22.5bn) in 2006. This growth will be driven mainly by new, second generation erythropoietins, lower-dosing human insulin analogues, antiarthritic beta interferons, albumin-free antihemophilic factors and longer-circulating colony stimulating factors. However, the shifting emphasis of drug research towards monoclonal antibodies will moderate even faster gains.

Boosted by the commercialisation of new cancer, asthma and anti-inflammatory compounds, monoclonal antibodies will show the most rapid gains of all biologics. Combined demand will reach $12.8bn (€12bn) in 2006, representing an annual increase of almost 16%.

Cancer treatment will be the fastest growing application for biologics, says Freedonia's report, due to the ineffectiveness of many existing therapies and the increasing penetration of new recombinant proteins such as darbepoetin alpha, new monoclonal antibodies such as alemtuzamab and, in the long term, new preventative vaccines against most common malignancies.

Asthma, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis are other conditions that will spur biologics demand.

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