Emerging markets are ‘blue oceans’ for biosimilars

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Tapanuth)
(Image: Getty/Tapanuth)

Related tags Singapore Biotech emerging markets

The high growth rate in the uptake of biologics in emerging markets represents a major opportunity for those companies developing biosimilars, suggests one pharma exec.

During last month’s Festival of Biologics, Haleh Hamedifar, CEO of Singapore Biotech, explained why she has no interest in focusing on the North American market for biosimilars, but will instead focus on the opportunity in emerging markets.

Hamedifar broke the interest in emerging markets down into figures, stating that 30% of the total biosimilar market belongs to emerging markets and that in the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, the growth rate is 30%.

Currently, the biosimilar market here is worth $1bn (€903m), as of 2018, but this is projected to grow to $5bn (€4.5bn) by the end of 2023.

Underpinned this growth are three factors, Hamedifar suggested: “First of all, in emerging markets, there are a lot of patients who cannot afford biopharmaceutical products.

“Second, there is a shift from infectious diseases to chronic disease and biopharmaceutical products are a miracle for a lot of chronic diseases.

“The third reason is that governments in emerging markets are pushing manufacturers to localize manufacturing for these high cost products and limiting the import of these products.”

As a result of this latter, Singapore Biotech will look to take advantage of local manufacturing incentives to create medicines in the countries themselves.

“We want to produce in emerging markets for emerging markets. And why? Because of the high growth rates and they really are blue ocean markets. As well as this, the lower cost of manufacturing and local manufacturing incentives,”​ she explained.

However, Hamedifar admitted that there are additional difficulties when trying to work in emerging markets – noting that the lack of regulation and underdeveloped healthcare systems can pose a problem. Whilst broader issues, such as political and economic instability, can also cause unpredictability for business.

Despite these potential hurdles, Hamedifar was adamant that the company’s targets would be “all over the world, except North America.”

Instead, she cited the example of Europe, noting that in 2018, there were one-third more patients treated with biosimilar products than the previous year, concluding that “we are going to find something similar in emerging markets.”

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