Updated on 8 June 2012
What are the trends in the life sciences sector in the APAC?
Dr Fernandez: Pan-Asian nations, which are traditionally viewed as regions where things can get done faster and cheaper, have now emerged as strong growth markets and engines of innovation. There are certain trends in the life science sector in the US that are accelerating growth in the Pan Asian region.
Probably one of the most noteworthy trends is that in 2012, there will be fewer drug FDA approvals. Regulatory barriers will continue to increase in the US forcing companies to look to Pan Asian and emerging markets for first approvals of new products, be it a therapeutic or a device. In fact, whenever we look at a deal flow today in our San Francisco offices, we put a global hat on and evaluate the companies for their potential in outside the US markets while they are waiting for approval in the US.
Between 2011 and 2015 approximately $120 billion in revenue is expected to be lost to competition from generic drugs. China, India and Korea have all positioned themselves to benefit from the rising global demand for generic drugs and opportunities it has opened up for biosimilars. For example, Indian companies produce 20 percent of the world's supply of generic drugs and 30 percent of the US consumption of generics. That is a sizable opportunity. The government in these countries are playing a critical role in moving their economies from lower value industries to high value industries. Most of these countries see biotech or medtech as important drivers of economic growth and are investing heavily in these sectors and building homegrown industries to serve the needs of their people and take their economies to the next level.
Also, targeting emerging markets is one of the key strategies for growth for US pharma companies. In 2011, Merck entered into joint ventures with Simcere to expand its reach in China and with Sun Pharma to enter India's growing market for branded generics. It also licensed technology from the South Korean firm Hanwha Chemical to expand its biosimilars portfolio, taking advantage of South Korea's growing expertise in the area.
What are the various challenges being faced by you?