News from the BioCity Campus

Biopharmaceuticals continue to grow

– Market share of biopharmaceuticals in Germany reaches peak value – Number of employees is growing significantly – Germany far behind the USA and China in gene, cell and tissue therapies – but with catch-up potential

Frankfurt am Main (vfa bio). Biopharmaceuticals, i.e. drugs from genetic engineering, set new records in the German market in 2019: with sales of 12,7 billion euros (2018: 11,2 billion euros) and a market share of 29% (2018: 27%). The number of employees in the biopharmaceutical companies grew by 6% to 42.300 employees. These are the results of the industry report "Medical Biotechnology in Germany 2020" published today. It was developed for vfa bio by the strategy consultants Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

“Biopharmaceuticals are commercially successful because they meet a medical need. That's why doctors use them more often than before - established means as well as the numerous new approvals of previous years," explained Dr. Frank Mathias, Chairman of vfa bio and CEO of Rentschler Biopharma SE today at the presentation of the report in Frankfurt am Main

"Germany as a location plays an important role in this group of popular products, both in terms of development and production," says Dr. Mathias further. “Germany can play off strengths in technology and qualifications here compared to countries with lower wage levels! If politicians want more medicines to be produced in Germany in the future, then it should be high-tech products such as biopharmaceuticals.”

Relevant market factor biosimilars

Sales of biosimilars, i.e. replicas of original biopharmaceuticals after their patent has expired, exceeded the billion mark (2019 billion euros) for the first time in 1,5 - an increase of a good 60% compared to the previous year. In competition with their reference original products, they achieve market shares of up to 60% in the first year. This shows that biosimilars have become a relevant market factor on their own and do not require any political support measures. But the original manufacturers are still represented with their products in the supply because they make competitive offers to the health insurance companies.

ATMP: Novel and special

The current report goes into the field of gene, cell and tissue therapeutics in depth, collectively known as Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP). These are characterized by the fact that patients often experience a long-lasting improvement in their disease with a single treatment - for example, when a congenital genetic defect can be corrected or severely damaged tissue can be regenerated.

This product segment is still small, with ten drugs currently approved. However, more than 1.000 studies for further ATMPs are now taking place worldwide.

Around 47% of these studies take place in the US, with China in second place at 39%. Only 4,4% of ATMP studies are carried out in this country. “Germany lags behind as a study location. This is due, for example, to the slow translation of new therapeutic approaches from research into clinical testing or a lack of production capacities," says study author Dr. Jürgen Lücke, Senior Partner at BCG.

“Germany has to decide whether it wants to play a key role in these promising technologies and generate added value here at the location. This opportunity should be used now,” said Lücke.

For this Dr. Mathias: “There is a hard core of ATMP competence and dedicated companies as well as academic research groups. What is needed, however, is a large-scale plan.”

BCG and vfa bio have developed proposals for this. They recommend:

  • the establishment of a "German Center for Health Research" for ATMP to create research infrastructure and networking,
  • the establishment of an ATMP task force to harmonize the disparate requirements for ATMP studies and logistics in the various federal states,
  • Increased staff at the competent drug authority, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, for faster advice to companies and faster release of ATMP study applications,
  • Expansion and automation of ATMP production as well as training of appropriate specialist staff,
  • Closing the hospital funding gap to ensure early deployment of approved ATMPs.

This would not only be beneficial for the site, but also for society and the patients waiting for new treatment options.

The Biotech Report 2020

The report analyzes the activities of all companies in medical biotechnology in Germany. He can under can be downloaded as a pdf or ordered free of charge.

vfa Biography represents biotechnology in the vfa, which is committed to the interests of its 44 leading manufacturers worldwide in health, research and economic policy. vfa Biography is committed to using the medical and economic potential of biotechnology and making Germany the leading biotechnology location in Europe. vfa Biography currently belong to 28 companies.

Source: Press Release vfa Biography by 30.06.2020

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