The development of the vaccine market to a $48bn (€42.4bn) figure by 2025 represents considerable growth on a sector that had previously been estimated to be worth $28bn in 2016, according to a report by Transparency Market Research.
The research points towards general trends of high demand for vaccines from national governments and the expansion of research into using vaccines in other treatment areas, both within and outside of the treatment of infectious diseases.
Inhibitors to growth
However, there are factors that are inhibiting further growth, which includes the cost and investment required to manufacture, as well as the increasing price of vaccines themselves.
GSK discovered the former point on the launch of its Shingrix (herpes zoster) vaccine, which became one of its most successful launches in recent times but unexpectedly high levels of demand saw supply levels become constrained.
As a result of the manufacturing process, with doses needing six-to-nine months to be produced, GSK will not be able to meet demand during 2019 and therefore invested $100m in expanding capacity.
GSK is currently one of the leading companies in the vaccine market, with the highest number of vaccine subtypes available to the public, followed closely by Sanofi.
The geography of vaccines
According to industry analysts, the contract manufacture of vaccines will shift from traditionally Western geographic regions to the East due to the improvements in manufacturing processes in ‘pharmerging’ countries such as India and China.
For example, WuXi Biologics recently formed a vaccines business alongside Hile Bio-Technology and, the resulting company, WuXi Vaccines, then signed a 20-year deal with an unnamed global vaccines company for a contract worth a potential $3bn.
In terms of the geographic demand for vaccines, the WHO suggests that 82% of global vaccines sales occur in high-income countries – however, this only accounts for 20% of the annual volume of vaccines sold. This is due to the purchase of newer vaccines, which are sold at a higher price point and the generally higher cost of vaccines in these areas.