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Report Predicts Major Slowdown for Big Pharma


4 March, 2010

Top pharmaceutical and biotech companies should expect a major slowdown in sales growth between 2008 and 2014, according to business analysts Datamonitor.

The firm's report, Pharmaceutical Company Outlook to 2014, examines the forecast performance of the world's biggest pharmaceutical and biotech companies, which the report refers to as the PharmaVitae Universe. According to the report, prescription-drug sales will rise only at a compound annual growth rate of 1.2 % up to 2014, compared with the massive 10.5% between 2002−2008. Datamonitor attributes the decline to generic competition and the large number of patent expirations scheduled for blockbuster drugs in the next few years.

Fortunately for some top companies, the outlook is a little brighter as some players are predicted to outperform the average growth rate. Datamonitor analyst Rebecca Whitham explained in a press statement, "Companies that have successfully diversified into the biologics sector of monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic proteins, which by comparison are relatively insulated from generic competition, will see stronger revenue performance."

As an example, Datamonitor highlights Roche (Basel), which moved into the monoclonal antibody market early on and is expected to generate the largest sales increase of all the PharmaVitae Universe companies between 2008 and 2014.

There's also hope for companies that target niche indications and areas of high unmet medical need, as well as companies that have developed their own generics presence, a strategy that will be particularly beneficial as the generic-drug market grows. Whitman also acknowledged that mergers and acquisitions (M&As) will play a role in driving growth. "Where M&As have acted as the PharmaVitae Universe's biggest growth driver over 2002–2008, this unknown quantity is likely to continue to play a key role in driving company performance going forward."