Biosimilars, a $240-bn opportunity for drug cos

THE HANS INDIA |   Oct 07,2016 , 02:04 AM IST


Hyderabad: A study report released on Thursday by the industry body Assocham stated that biosimilars would offer a $240-billion global opportunity for Indian pharmaceuticals industry, while the domestic market was expected to reach $40 billion by 2030. Biosimilar is a biopharmaceutical drug designed to have active properties similar to a drug that has previously been licensed.

Prof D Swaminadhan, President and Director General, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Studies (JNIAS), released the report at Assocham-Department of Pharmaceuticals conference on “BioPharma: biosimilars and biogenerics; emerging investment destination” here. Assocham has brought out the report in association with Sathguru Management Consultants. 

"Indian biosimilars industry was close to $300 million in 2015. Domestic sales are close to $250 million growing at a combined annual rate of of 14 per cent, while exports contributed close to $51 million,” the report pointed out. However, with the introduction of a new regulatory policy in India and increased affordability that biosimilars offer, the domestic market is expected to grow at an accelerated pace and reach the target of $40 billion by 2030 and will command 20 per cent share in global market, it added.

"Based on our analysis of the currently approved biologic drugs, clinical pipeline and expectations around price erosion and market penetration, Assocham and Sathguru estimate that global market for biosimilars will be $240 billion by 2030," it added. Speaking on the occasion, Prof D Swaminadhan said that the current market landscape called for all stakeholders including the government and industry to join forces and push the boundaries of biosimilars adoption to realize the potential for the benefit of both industry and the patient.

“Countries like Norway provide great examples of engaging the community in decision making and fostering greater adoption of biosimilars,” he said. He further added that biologics were 200 to 1000 times the size of small molecule (generic drug) and far more structurally complex. Additionally, biologics and biosimilars are manufactured in living cells while small molecules are manufactured chemically. Hence, Biosimilars are not equal to generics, he explained. 

Dr Pushpa Vijayaraghavan, Director, Sathguru, while highlighting the key findings of report, said that the biosimilars opportunity was nascent now and the 2016 estimated market size was only $2.2 billion. “However, the recent USFDA approvals and market penetration stories emerging from Europe herald in the next phase of growth in biosimilars,” she added.