With the WHO’s pre-qualification of a Japanese Encephalitis vaccine from China National Biotec Group (CNBG) in October 2013, China officially joined the global vaccine market. Plus, the work going on in India and the emergence of Japanese companies Takeda and Astellas as global vaccine players, makes it clear that the East is no longer just in the East when it comes to vaccine research, development and production.
What impact will this have on the traditional European and US companies and their pipelines?
During research for the World Vaccine Congresses in both the US and Europe, senior-level vaccine professionals indicated that it is having significant impact.
A large number of companies are actively seeking to move into the BRIC country markets and so tackling the challenges of establishing themselves there, including technology transfer, production methodologies and regulation.
Many are assessing the idea of developing vaccines for targets they haven’t thought about before, as they are not prevalent in their domestic markets, or have only thought of as poverty diseases. For example, TB has often been thought of as an issue for Africa, and according to one person they had not thought about the Asian market for this vaccine before, even though there are more cases there.
There also seems to be a feeling that more East-West collaboration will be possible. The ability to share knowledge and facilities could have startling results in reducing costs and streamlining processes.
With all of these new market entrants competition is also increasing, which will inevitably drive down the prices of vaccines and, thus, the profitability of the sector – will this make it a less desirable area for investment?
These are only a few ways in which this trend is effecting the traditional vaccine market and driving innovation and change. It will be interesting to see the shape of the industry in years to come.
For more information about the World Vaccine Congress US in March visit www.terrapinn.com/vaccine2014, and for the European event in October visit www.terrapinn.com/conference/world-vaccine-congress-europe. This topic will be covered in facilitated roundtable sessions at our US event and in a number of sessions in the European one.
See FT coverage of CNBG pre-qualification here (£).