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Positive sentiments for the biotech sector have prevailed in the last two to three years, and we expect this trend to continue for the next year too. Our optimism is based on the continuity in the flow of innovative products from their pipeline, implementation of strategic decisions to improve cost efficiency, strengthen therapeutic leadership, and hedge against generic threats – which all lend stability to the business model of the company. Focus and interest in Orphan diseases remains and Alexion kept everyone guessing on the possible acquisition. BMRN, Alexion are likely candidates to be acquired in this space.
Strategy Diversification Divested: Productivity measurements, Divestment of non-core assets resulting in healthy Cash position- Will accelerate Next wave of targeted acquisition
In the recent years several new therapies have been approved in the area of diabetes (SGLT-2, GLP-1 agonists), Multiple Sclerosis, HCV, melanoma and breast cancer from major pharmaceutical companies. Many of them are expected to reach multibillion dollars peak sales in the near-term which is likely to compensate the patent expiry loss in top-line revenue. Novel mechanisms like anti-PD1, anti-PCSK9 and CDK inhibitors have also got exclusive attention by large cap Pharma companies. Most companies are in race to acquire assets in these hot therapy areas. Companies who already have these assets are investing heavily in clinical development programs. The interest in pursuing opportunities in Oncology therapy is unhindered for all major Pharma companies. Research investments in oncology likely to continue for several more years due to the significant unmet need exist in this area.
Indian companies are taking center stage in Complex Generics at US and EU markets. In Bio-similars, Indian companies will have perhaps the largest basket aimed at Emerging Countries in 2014-16 and later for Developed countries. Though few but is the beginning of NCE/mAb development by Indian companies is a sign of Indian Generics moving up in the chain. The uncertainty of clinical and regulatory pathways in the US helps Asian biopharma and biotech companies to be in forefront in developing and marketing biosimilars. Biopharma/ biotech companies in India, S. Korea, China may have significant advantages of low-cost manufacturing, colossal markets, and healthy government support over potential peers from other regions. The cost barriers in the biosimilar market lead regulated marketed giants to tie up with Asian companies to gain access to these advantages and hedging their bets through a joint-venture strategy. Though reimbursement remains a concern as no countries provide full reimbursement – patient pay total cost out-of-pocket in India; with well defined regulatory pathways, we believe Indian biopharma companies keep leveraging their strength of low cost manufacturing along with skilled workforce which would support them to gain global recognition.
2014 will be marked as a transition year for the Japanese Pharma industry - the year is bound to be painful both for innovators and generic companies due to the new regulations. We find these regulations to be 'decisive' in spurring generic penetration significantly, with the main beneficiary being the Japanese government (or society) and not the generic companies. The implications of new price-reversions are going to have many facets and will change conventional business models. We expect many support services industries - CMOs, CROs and other allied services industries to benefit from these structural changes, while API importers will suffer. We also expect consolidation and M&A activities to spur in Japan.
Innovations have contributed to the availability of a range of new treatments for diseases resulting in improvement in the length and quality of life and reduced disease burden for individuals and society. However, the need for innovative therapies for unmet needs /challenging diseases continues to grow, accelerating the pace of drug development directly or through partnership/ in-licensing. We expect innovation and improved drugs therapies through novel target discovery and technology platforms to continue to flow from the backyards of small research focused companies (Rising Stars, RS – non-profitable biotech companies) in coming years.
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