What’s dri­ving the rapid growth of the top 20 bio­phar­ma com­pa­nies in the world?

I’ve been re­mark­ing for some time now that the whole bio­phar­ma sec­tor glob­al­ly has grown enor­mous­ly over the past few years. And thanks to the in­vest­ment bankers at Tor­reya I can add a few num­bers to put that in­to per­spec­tive, along with the boom­ing role that Chi­na has played and is like­ly to con­tin­ue to play over the next gen­er­a­tion.

One of the charts that re­al­ly leaped out at me was a look at the mar­ket val­u­a­tions of the top 20 com­pa­nies. In the past 6 years, says Tor­reya’s new re­port out on the in­dus­try, those val­u­a­tions have dou­bled in size, grow­ing from about $1.45 tril­lion to very close to $3 tril­lion.

The stand­outs are Cel­gene, up 351%, and J&J, which grew by $204 bil­lion to to­day’s $380 bil­lion (up about 1% since Tor­reya gath­ered the num­bers). That rise alone is get­ting in­to the same ball­park as all of Roche’s $232 bil­lion. And lets keep in mind that the swelling val­u­a­tions among the top 20 bio­phar­mas have been track­ing rapid­ly grow­ing stock in­dex­es as well.


This is oc­cur­ring dur­ing a time in which most gov­ern­ments — out­side the US — are more like­ly than ever to get ag­gres­sive about con­tain­ing the cost of drugs, which helps ex­plain why the 12 big gov­ern­ments in Eu­rope spend 1.2% of GDP on drugs, com­pared to 2.03% in the US, where cost con­trols have not been put in place by the gov­ern­ment. The US, by the way, is just a lit­tle ahead of Japan on that score, which reg­is­ters 1.93% of GDP go­ing to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Rare dis­eases and on­col­o­gy will re­main a cen­tral fo­cus in R&D. Tor­reya carved out the top 20 pure-play rare dis­ease com­pa­nies in the world and cal­cu­lat­ed they have a mar­ket val­ue of $315 bil­lion — which gets back to that J&J com­par­i­son to put it in­to per­spec­tive.

If you fo­cus on the val­ue of com­pa­nies that spot­light rare forms of can­cer, there’s an­oth­er $193 bil­lion. So now you’re talk­ing around a half tril­lion dol­lars for the to­tal.

Chi­na, mean­while, has seen its Phar­ma sec­tor boom. Over just the last 18 months, the val­ue of the top 20 phar­ma com­pa­nies in Chi­na grew from $450 bil­lion to $534 bil­lion — up 19%. And Tor­reya be­lieves this is not a bub­ble. Over the next 50 years they ex­pect the phar­ma sec­tor in Chi­na will quadru­ple in size, while the US will dou­ble and ma­jor Eu­ro­pean mar­kets will be un­der the 2X lev­el.


The US will ac­count for 33% of phar­ma rev­enue this year, with Chi­na weigh­ing in at 10% and West­ern Eu­rope at 22%. In 2060, Tor­reya’s an­a­lysts be­lieve that Chi­na will grow to 18%, edg­ing out West­ern Eu­rope at 17% though still well be­hind the US share of 30%.

In many re­spects, this cen­tu­ry should mark Chi­na’s ar­rival as one of the Big 3 bio­phar­ma mar­kets. For now, though, it re­mains one of the most poor­ly un­der­stood mar­kets in the world.

Bi­o­log­ics in gen­er­al, and rare dis­ease bi­o­log­ics in par­tic­u­lar, will con­tin­ue to be stand­outs for the growth com­pa­nies in the in­dus­try, Tor­reya fig­ures. RNA tech, gene ther­a­pies and gene edit­ing will dri­ve fu­ture growth while cell ther­a­pies be­come much more rou­tine. And new in­no­va­tions in phar­ma man­u­fac­tur­ing will cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties at a time that minia­ture im­plantable de­vices help au­to­mate the reg­u­lar use of ther­a­peu­tics.

The DCT-OS: A Tech­nol­o­gy-first Op­er­at­ing Sys­tem - En­abling Clin­i­cal Tri­als

As technology-enabled clinical research becomes the new normal, an integrated decentralized clinical trial operating system can ensure quality, deliver consistency and improve the patient experience.

The increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccines has many of us looking forward to a time when everyday things return to a state of normal. Schools and teachers are returning to classrooms, offices and small businesses are reopening, and there’s a palpable sense of optimism that the often-awkward adjustments we’ve all made personally and professionally in the last year are behind us, never to return. In the world of clinical research, however, some pandemic-necessitated adjustments are proving to be more than emergency stopgap measures to ensure trial continuity — and numerous decentralized clinical trial (DCT) tools and methodologies employed within the last year are likely here to stay as part of biopharma’s new normal.

'Chang­ing the whole game of drug dis­cov­ery': Leg­endary R&D vet Roger Perl­mut­ter leaps back in­to work as a biotech CEO

Roger Perlmutter needs no introduction to anyone remotely involved in biopharma. As the R&D chief first at Amgen and then Merck, he’s built a stellar reputation and a prolific career steering new drugs toward the market for everything from cancer to infectious diseases.

But for years, he’s also held a less known title: science partner at The Column Group, where he’s regularly consulted about the various ideas the VCs had for new startups.

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FDA ex­tends re­search agree­ment with MIT-li­censed or­gan-on-chip sys­tems

The FDA on Wednesday extended its four-year agreement with CN Bio, a developer of single- and multi-organ-on-chip systems used for drug discovery, for another three years.

CN Bio said the scope of the research performed by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has expanded to include the exploration of the company’s lung-on-a-chip system to help with the agency’s evaluation of inhaled drugs, in addition to the agency’s work on its liver model.

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In quest to meet user fee goals, FDA’s per­for­mance con­tin­ues down­ward trend

A recent update to the FDA’s running tally of how it’s meeting its user fee-related performance goals during the pandemic shows an agency that is not out of the woods yet.

The latest numbers reveal that for a second straight quarter in 2021, the FDA has met its user fee goal dates for 93% of original new drug applications, which compares with 94% and 98% for the previous two quarters in 2020, respectively.

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UP­DAT­ED: Pfiz­er hits the brakes on their piv­otal tri­al for a BC­MA/CD3 bis­pe­cif­ic on safe­ty con­cerns while FDA road­block is hold­ing up Duchenne MD PhI­II

Pfizer’s ambitious plan to take a Phase II study of its BCMA CD3-targeted bispecific antibody elranatamab (PF-06863135) and run it through to an accelerated approval has derailed.

The pharma giant said in a release this morning that they have halted enrollment for their MagnetisMM-3 study after researchers tracked three cases of peripheral neuropathy in the ongoing Phase I. They are now sharing info with the FDA as they explore the red safety flag.

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Thomas Schall, ChemoCentryx CEO (file photo)

Chemo­Cen­tryx plunges as FDA rais­es ques­tions about rare dis­ease drug ahead of ad­comm

ChemoCentryx’s stock price on Wednesday was cut in half by the release of FDA briefing documents ahead of a Thursday adcomm, raising questions on the company’s clinical data to support avacopan as a treatment for adults with a rare and serious disease known as anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA)-vasculitis.

ANCA-associated vasculitides (AAV) affect small to medium-size blood vessels that can be fatal in less than a year if left untreated, according to FDA. Only Roche’s Rituxan is currently FDA-approved for the treatment of AAV, while glucocorticoids are approved for the broader indication of vasculitis.

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Re­gen­eron’s gold­en goose Eylea may stave off biosim­i­lar com­pe­ti­tion un­til 2024 or be­yond

Almost 10 years have passed since its first FDA approval and Regeneron’s macular degeneration injection Eylea continues to pile up sales to the tune of about $5 billion per year, or more than half of Regeneron’s annual revenues.

Those billions are not expected to go anywhere anytime soon thanks to competition, even as Novartis subsidiary Sandoz announced Monday that it’s beginning a Phase III trial for an Eylea biosimilar in 460 patients across 20 countries.

Cynthia Butitta (L) and Joe Jimenez

Is that an­oth­er IPO in the mak­ing? Ex-No­var­tis CEO Joe Jimenez and a lead Kite play­er take up new posts at an off-the-shelf ri­val to 2 pi­o­neer­ing drugs

Right on the heels of taking on a $160 million crossover round in a likely leap to Nasdaq, Century Therapeutics CEO Lalo Flores is now pushing ahead with the high-profile ex-Novartis chief Joe Jimenez as chairman.

Jimenez’s greatest fame at Novartis was earned for one of its weakest products, as their pioneering personalized CAR-T Kymriah won the honors for the first such drug to make it to the market. Now a host of players, including Century, are barreling in behind the frontrunners with allogeneic rivals that can be created for off-the-shelf use.

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An em­ploy­ee com­plaint at Eli Lil­ly's Branch­burg plant al­leges al­tered qual­i­ty con­trol docs amid FDA probe — re­port

Eli Lilly was one of the earliest players in the race for a Covid-19 antibody, but a series of setbacks at a New Jersey manufacturing site have set back its efforts. Now, an internal complaint reportedly claims that a director at that site knowingly fudged quality control docs right under the FDA’s nose.

An employee complaint from Eli Lilly’s manufacturing plant in Branchburg, NJ, alleged that a director altered documents handed over to FDA regulators as part of an effort to downplay serious quality control issues amid the agency’s probe at the site, Reuters reported.