Increased uptake of biologics in historically small molecule blockbuster-dominated therapeutic areas


recombinant protein
monoclonal antibody
nucleic acid therapeutic


The two leading therapeutic areas for biologic products, in terms of current sales and pipeline focus, are oncology and AIID (arthritis, immune and inflammatory disorders). Datamonitor has recently analysed these markets.1, 2 Biologics designed to treat cancer indications have underpinned the development of the biotechnology market since its inception in the 1980s, while AIID biologics are currently driving biotechnology market growth, due to the high demand for biologics to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

In this paper, we have looked outside these markets to identify whether biologic drugs are having an impact in other therapeutic markets. Many of these therapeutic markets (eg cardiovascular, central nervous system, respiratory, gastrointestinal) are dominated by small molecule blockbusters prescribed by primary care physicians. Here, we examine the cardiovascular therapeutic franchise as a case study for a market that has relied heavily on small molecule blockbusters to drive growth, and in which there is relatively low exposure to biologics.

Marketed and pipeline cardiovascular biologics can largely be split into two categories: (i) early-evolution versions of drugs from mature biologic sectors (eg first-generation recombinant proteins and chimeric monoclonal antibodies), which are in the mature low-growth stages of their sales growth trajectories; and (ii) early-stage therapies based on innovative biologic technology platforms (eg gene therapies and oligonucleotides), which have the potential to help power cardiovascular franchise growth in the future. With the identification of more protein targets that play a role in specific disease aetiology, targeted therapies are set to power overall market growth. While companies operating in the oncology and AIID franchises are best equipped to use a targeted therapy strategy, franchises such as cardiovascular are beginning to awaken to the potential of a targeted therapy approach.

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