Peptide Therapeutics Market: Challenges and Opportunities

Therapeutic peptides are defined as short amino acid chains that have potential in managing disease symptoms, and in some cases cure them. The industry defines peptides as molecules shorter than 100 amino acids; while longer amino acid chains can be monoclonal antibodies and proteins. Insulin was the first peptide to be isolated and administered therapeutically, and is still the most commonly prescribed peptide, having been used for over half a century. Peptides have been explored for the treatment of various conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disorders, respiratory disorders, blood disorders, central nervous system disorders and various others.

The peptide therapeutics market has developed at a significant pace in the recent past, leading to unparalleled growth in the number of regulatory approvals received in 2012. Thus, the increase in number of approved peptide-based drug products and expanding range of medical indications projects the increasing maturity of peptides as a class of pharmaceutical actives. Therapeutic peptides are approved for various application areas such as cancer, cardiovascular, central nervous system, gastrointestinal, infection, metabolic, pain, and respiratory. Cancer was estimated to be the largest application segment of the peptide therapeutics market in 2013; while the respiratory segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR, due to the recent approval of Surfaxin (lucinactant). Major drugs driving growth of the overall peptide therapeutics market include Angiomax, Copaxone, Forteo, Sandostatin, Velcade, Victoza and Zoladex. As these drugs lose their patent exclusivity in the near future, the market for generic peptide drugs would flourish. However, difficulty in synthesis of complex peptides has restricted growth of the generic peptide drugs market.

Patent expiry has been the prime factor impeding market growth; while at the same time has also allowed deeper market penetration in low and middle income countries. The market is also restrained due to unavailability of convenient routes of drug administration, and lower drug stability at room temperature. Scientists, however, are trying to overcome these drawbacks through consistent research and development. With an escalating number of peptide therapeutic drug approvals and consistent launch of generics, the demand for peptide APIs is expected to rise in the near future. Hence, API manufacturers are trying to optimize economies of scale to reduce costs and also meet the rising peptide API demand. Thus, the supply side of the peptide therapeutics value chain would decide the fate of the global market.

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The global peptide therapeutics market is largely concentrated in the western countries of North America and Europe, which account for more than 60% of the market share. Although these regions are currently the largest market segments, the compounded annual growth rate of the market in these regions is expected to be slower as compared to Asia Pacific. India, China and Japan are major countries driving the peptide therapeutics market in the Asia Pacific region. Japan is the second-largest individual pharmaceutical market, while India and China have large patient population due to high disease prevalence. Rapidly developing economy and increasing awareness about various disease treatments are other factors driving the market. India and China have emerged as major peptide API suppliers globally.

Key players in the market include Amgen, Inc., AstraZeneca plc, Eli Lilly & Co., Ipsen S.A., Merck & Co., Novartis AG, Novo Nordisk A/S, Roche Holdings AG, Sanofi, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited. Leading API manufacturers include Bachem Holding AG, PolyPeptide Group. Peptisyntha Inc and Lonza Inc.

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