Drug resistance and patent expiries are demanding that the antibacterial drug market moves forwards soon, but a current lack of interest from pharmaceutical companies has led to market stagnation, according to a new report by healthcare experts GBI Research.
The new report shows that while hospital hygiene campaigns to conquer MRSA encourage public awareness of the importance of antibacterials, academic researchers are struggling to secure interest from commercial giants who can push new discoveries through the clinical pipeline process.
One major issue currently threatening the antibacterials market is the development of drug resistance. Increasing use of antibacterials is leading bacteria to evolve over time and develop resistance to the drugs used to treat the conditions they cause. As antibiotic prescription increases, the rate of resistance is also seen to increase.
Escherichia coli, a major cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs), has become increasingly resistant to fluoroquinolones, while multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is on the rise as well.
Despite the rising unmet need caused by drug resistance, a lack of interest in developing the market is present, possibly due to recent slumps in drug prices and increased competition. Several popular branded antibacterial products have recently lost their patent exclusivity, or are expected to lose it soon. For example, the recent patent expiry of Johnson and Johnson’s blockbuster antibiotic Levaquin led to a dip in overall market revenue, as this drug is used in multiple indications. The high proportion of cheaper generic products has led to a reduction of the average annual cost of therapy and fragmented the market.
As a consequence, the therapy pipelines for the bacterial diseases outlined in GBI Research’s report are relatively weak. Many drugs are in development by academic institutions currently lacking the industrial backing to bring them to market. While alliances are forming between these institutions and pharmaceutical companies, this has a limited capacity to increase market revenues at the moment and investments remain unattractive for many branded drug manufacturers.
However, the future may hold some developments for antibacterial research, with an increase in revenue predicted for 2013 following the market’s slow recovery from the patent expiry of Levaquin. The market is expected to generate annual revenues of $12.7 billion by 2017.
Date: May 29, 2012
Source: GBI Research