Biotechnology is being used in agriculture and enzyme manufacturing, but its biggest impact is in the pharmaceutical market. There, biotechnology is creating therapies like antibodies, interleukins, and vaccines able to target specific conditions and often able to do so with great results and fewer side effects.
Biotech revenues for publicly-held companies were estimated at $132.7 billion in 2015 – up 10% from the year before and some 45% since 2013. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimated that genetically-engineered drugs represent 10% of total global prescriptions – a figure which will only rise.
While larger numbers of generic drugs based on biotech findings are being released each year, the real allure of biotech in the future will be the ability to provide personalized medicine. Along the same lines, stem cell research is moving ahead rapidly due in part to relaxed federal limitations on funding.
Elsewhere, biotech in the pharma industry is being boosted by the same drivers fueling pharma growth itself – a global focus on effective vaccines, rapidly aging populations in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, aggressive biotech investment, decreases in the cost of personal genetic research, rapid growth worldwide in the prescription drug market, and the discovery and manufacture of new drugs impacting rare diseases.
Biosimilars are having a major impact on the pharma market and their influence is likely to rise. In March, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its first biosimilar drug, Zarxio, and more are expected to enter the market in the future.
Biosimilars will probably have a negative impact on the bottom line of big pharma companies, analysts predict. Companies like Roche will be hard hit and are now working quickly to develop new drugs to replace the lost revenue. Of course, other firms stand to gain. “While we believe that a lot of stake holders will benefit from the advent of biosimilars, some will be adversely effected,” Forbes reported. Further, Medicare and Medicaid – and by association, American taxpayers – will save money as well – perhaps $45 billion over the next 10 years.
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