AN INTERVIEW WITH DR GÜNTER JAGSCHIES, OF GE BIOPROCESS TEAMS ON WHAT ARE THE MAIN OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN THE RAPIDLY EVOLVING ASIAN BIOPHARMA MARKETS?
Demand for better, more precise, and effective medicines is driven by a changing global population and increased economic power in growth economies. Asia and the Sub-Saharan Africa are almost exclusively driving the global population growth. Also, the ageing populations are growing there, resulting in an increased demand on the healthcare systems. But simultaneously, there are also more and more Asian patients who can afford treatment with biologics, which is aided by generally lower price levels and improved economic situations in the region.
Currently, the Asian biopharma industry is mainly concentrated in China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, but the development of these markets is going to be heterogenous as they have, for example, different starting points, local policies and biopharma know-how. However, these countries are likely to face a market fragmentation challenge, because a large number of Asian companies are all focusing on the development of biosimilars for only a very few (5-10) original drugs, while at the same time many multinational companies are also entering the region. This requires more product development and manufacturing innovation from the local players to develop a differentiated position in their markets and to move to original drugs, although access to affordable biosimilars is also critical.