Orphan drug market expected to reach US$176bn by 2020

Published: 13-Nov-2014

Growth set to be more than double that of prescription market overall, excluding generics

By 2020 orphan drugs are expected to account for 19% of the total share of prescription drug sales, excluding generics, reaching US$176bn in annual sales, according to a new report from Evaluate.

The EvaluatePharma Orphan Drug Report 2014 predicts that the orphan drug market will grow by 11% over the next six years, which is more than double the 5% growth expected in the prescription market overall, excluding generics.

'Orphan drugs are no longer a niche segment of the market,' said Anthony Raeside, Evaluate’s Head of Research.

'Although orphan populations are by definition the smallest, they represent big per-patient outlays, and insurers will be looking carefully at new tools to arrest cost growth as more orphan drugs launch.'

The average orphan drug cost $137,782 per patient in 2014, compared with an average of $20,875 for a non-orphan drug, the report says.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is set to leapfrog Novartis as the leader in orphan drug sales in 2020

Other key findings of the report are that a record 260 orphan drug designations were granted in the US in 2013, with Vertex’ VX-809 in combination with Kalydeco the most valuable R&D orphan drug last year. Meanwhile, Pharmacyclics’ Imbruvica was ranked as the most promising new orphan drug approved by the FDA.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is set to leapfrog Novartis as the leader in orphan drug sales in 2020 thanks to its cancer immunotherapeutic Opdivo, the report says.

Phase III orphan drug development cost is half that of non-orphans but development time for orphans is not shorter than for non-orphan drugs, the report says, and the anticipated return on investment for a Phase III/filed orphan drug is 1.89 times greater than for a non-orphan drug.

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