Biopharmaceuticals: New Therapy Concepts for Patients with Metabolic Diseases
The new biotech report describing the situation of medical biotechnology in Germany is now available. It was provided by The Boston Consulting Group for vfa bio. This yearly report is the only one recording all activities within medical biotechnology in Germany – ranging from startup to big companies. In addition to key economic data on medical biotechnology in Germany in 2017, the focus of this year’s report is on the production of biopharmaceuticals as well as on the benefit of biopharmaceuticals for patients with metabolic diseases.
Key economic data on medical biotechnology in Germany in 2017 at a glance:
- Sales of biopharmaceuticals (in the pharmacy and hospital market) increased by 10.3% relative to 2016, to €10.2 billion. The share of this revenue as a percentage of the total pharmaceuticals market increased from around 25% to 26%. Growth was seen in nearly all fields of application, especially in the segment of drugs against cancer and immunological (e.g., rheumatic) diseases.
- 23 new biopharmaceutical drugs were approved in 2017 (51% of all new approvals)—more than ever before. This underlines the increasing significance of biopharmaceuticals in medical care.
- The pipeline remains well filled: The number of biopharmaceutical compounds in clinical development rose slightly within the space of one year, from 636 to 639; biosimilars now comprise around 25% of the entire biopharmaceutical phase III pipeline.
- In 2017, there were 383 medical biotechnology companies in Germany. 118 of them are already marketing biopharmaceuticals and/or have their own innovative product pipeline; the remaining 265 contribute to drug development in other ways, such as with technology platforms, without developing their own active ingredients.
- Medical biotechnology companies have continued to hire new staff, whose numbers increased significantly by 6.6%, to over 47,000—another new record.
A separate chapter in the 2018 biotech report covers the genetic engineering production of protein drugs for biopharmaceuticals
While this is a complex, time-consuming, and cost-intensive process, it enables in particular the production of new proteins that are not found in nature. Today, 60% of all biopharmaceuticals are produced in mammalian cells, 78% thereof in hamster cells (which have been continuously propagated for decades). Germany ranks second worldwide in terms of the number of active ingredients produced, but only ranks third in terms of capacity for large cell culture vessels (fermenters, bioreactors), behind the United States and South Korea. This is because Germany is not competitive enough with regard to the tax framework conditions for investments in manufacturing facilities.
A second focus topic of this report is the use of biopharmaceuticals for patients with metabolic diseases
It's a question of diseases that are based on impaired distribution and transformation processes for substances in the body. Several of these are common such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, osteoporosis, and gout. Many other are rare diseases, such as lysosomal storage diseases. In total, 51 biopharmaceuticals against metabolic diseases were approved by the end of 2017, with the focus on diabetes (27 approvals) and lysosomal storage diseases (11 approvals). Application aids (devices) are increasingly being developed in parallel to new biopharmaceuticals to enable patients to administer them more easily. For example, 27 of the 51 biopharmaceuticals approved for the treatment of metabolic diseases are offered in the form of a pen.
To continue to successfully develop and produce new biopharmaceuticals in Germany and make them available to patients, the industry needs stable and favorable frame conditions. These include in particular innovation-friendly policies, appropriate evaluation and compensation of biopharmaceuticals, and improved patient care. If these points are taken into account, and if all those involved in the health care system pull together to implement them, the innovation cycle can be maintained—to the benefit of patients, society, and Germany as a business location.
Please download or order the Biotech-Report 2017 by vfa bio and The Boston Consulting Group free of charge here.