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Bio pharmaceutical is an umbrella term for medical drugs created with biotechnology. Beer, wine and washing detergent as well as systems used in agriculture and farming are all considered to be biotechnology. Research and innovation into biopharma is instrumental in the world of medicine and past discoveries have led to new ways to treat cancer and immune diseases. 

The global management consultancy firm, McKinsey & Company noted that Biopharmaceuticals are “among the most sophisticated and elegant achievements of modern science.”

Composed of proteins and nucleic acids, biopharmaceuticals are often used for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. The first such substance approved for therapeutic use was recombinant human insulin which has saved the lives of millions of diabetics around the world. Biopharma specifically refers to those pharmaceuticals derived from life forms including mammalian cells, bacteria, and yeast however often the definition is extended to include all types of pharmaceuticals.

Market Trends

PWC has recognised 7 major trends which are reshaping the biopharma marketplace in 2020:

  • Chronic disease is becoming more common which places greater pressure on stretched healthcare budgets.
  • Empowered consumers of healthcare services and policy makers are increasingly determining what doctors are able to prescribe.
  • Greater access to data means that patients can track and measure the pharmacoeconomic performance of different medicines.
  • Boundaries between different healthcare disciplines are blurring
  • Demand for medicines is growing more rapidly in developing nations and emerging economies as opposed to industrialised economies.
  • Preventative emphasis is overtaking treatments in government policy making intentions.
  • Regulators are becoming more cautious about approving truly innovative medicines.

Industry Challenges and Opportunities

Bio-pharmaceutical innovators are met with a number of challenges such as  rising consumer expectations. Patients want new therapies which are clinically and economically better than alternatives with real world data about why the medicine is superior. The well established discovering and developing process is traditionally slow to progress and management culture, mental models and strategies which are relied upon the industry are also slow to adapt. 

Despite this, it is clear that trade is becoming easier, new medicines are materialising and demand for products is escalating.

It is predicted that the global pharmaceutical market could be worth nearly $1.6 trillion by 2020. 

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