• Pharmaceutical Market
    The Pharmaceutical Market
    $1 trillion spent annually
    for prescription medicines

The Pharmaceutical Industry

The roots of the pharmaceutical industry go back to the 1800's beginning from apothecaries (similar to modern pharmacies today) who prepared and distributed natural products / plant extracts - those days quinine and morphine were typical examples, followed later by extracts from tissues.

Today's pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest in the world, supporting our health and helping to cure or improve many diseases. The global pharmaceutical market in value terms is almost $1 trillion. Approximately 70% of the sales of prescription medicines are generated in North America (c. $500bn) and Europe (c. $200bn). Prescription medicines are typically reimbursed by the health systems of each country. Prescription medicines have authorised claims on efficacy and safety and in order to receive these, they must follow the regulatory path of drug development.

Pharmaceutical Industry

The Largest Pharmaceutical Companies

Johnson & Johnson
Merck & Co
Eli Lilly
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Gilead Sciences
Boehringer Ingelheim
Merck Serono
Novo Nordisk

Drug Development

Developing pharmaceutical compounds is a very complicated, coslty and risky process. On average, a new compound, or a New Chemical Entity (NCE) can take more than 10 years from discovery to reach the market and cost estimates range from $200-800m, while going through the development stages.

The challenges for new medicines

In the last two centuries and more particularly during the last century, the pharmaceutical industry has managed to develop many new molecules that helped to save millions of lives. Many diseases are now addressed by existing medicines, although many are still not able to be treated appropriately. The process often begins with a "target", being a particular molecule or biological entity for which new chemicals are being designed and tested. Typically thousands of molecules have to be screened before a "hit" is effective and the "lead" moleculed is optimised. After that, the new compound has to to undergo extensive safety tests before being allowed to be tested in people (in the "clinic", hence the term "Clinical Development"). The drug development process is complicated and costly. Many strict guidelines have to be followed, for example "GLP" (Good Laboratory Practice), "GCP" (Good Clinical Practice) and "GMP" (Good Manufacturing Practice) and if these are not followed properly, the authorities will not give approval. New drugs are protected by patents which provide the manufacturer exclusivity for 20 years from the patent grant, which means that by the time development is complete, a new drug will have exclusivity for around 10 years, which in turn is a reason for a price which is appropriate to recover the costs of research and development of the particular project but also of the other projects that have failed.

We are a Life Sciences advisory UK company based in London, assisting companies and investors in Pharma, Biotech, MedTech and HealthTech. We specialise in providing full-service support in Business Development & Licensing deals, Product Development, Financing, Commercialisation and Communications.

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