Pharma companies set high hopes for 2013

Feb. 4, 2013

Following the approval of 39 new drugs in 2012, and with a number of new pharmaceutical products already in their final stages of development, global pharma companies are optimistic about the next 12 months.

Following the approval of 39 new drugs in 2012, and with a number of new pharmaceutical products already in their final stages of development, global pharma companies are optimistic about the next 12 months. Industry experts predict that 2013 will be marked by the launch of new products for treating serious diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease and hepatitis, according to Thomson Reuters.

The international pharmaceutical industry gathered some speed last year, as the total number of new medicine approvals came only second to 1996, with a number of niche drugs for rare diseases receiving approval. The approval trend is likely to continue, as major manufacturers including Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Biogen Idec, Gilead Sciences and Novo Nordisk are just some of those on the verge of finalizing important new products.

The outlook for the next few years is positive, the analysis from Thomson Reuters shows. According to predictions by Deutsche Bank, European pharma companies have the potential to turn out new drugs on the market from 2013 to 2015 with annual sales of up to $64 billion, or $27 billion after factoring in the risk of failure, while new patent losses in the period will amount to $12 billion. A similar view is shared by Simon Friend, global pharmaceutical leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. However, he claimed that it is still too early to say that drug companies are set for growth, especially considering the fact that governments and insurers are taking a tougher stance on funding new drugs.

This year will be of major importance for several key companies. GlaxoSmithKline is one of them, since the British company has lodged six new drugs for approval, with the products designed to treat lung disease, diabetes, cancer and HIV. In addition, GSK is expecting Phase III clinical results to be completed this year on two high-risk, high-reward projects in heart disease and cancer.

Another highly anticipated drug predicted to get approval early this year is Biogen's multiple sclerosis (MS) drug BG-12. Although it is not the first oral MS drug, industry experts have already hailed it as the best. The development of BG-12 and the high hopes that many put on it have helped the U.S.-headquartered company to nearly treble the value of its shares over the past three years.

New drugs treating diabetes are also expected to be launched over the coming months, as a new class of medicines which work via the kidneys are predicted to be to introduced. Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk is relying on a new ultra long-lasting insulin, Tresiba, to maintain its position as a global leader in diabetes care. The drug could also be used as a weapon against obesity because it has been found to be safe and effective in weight loss.

According to Deutsche Bank analyst Richard Parkes, the global pharmaceutical industry has gone a long way to boost productivity and has learned from its past mistakes. He believes that the success of the larger part of Phase III testing is proof of the advancement of the industry.

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