Vaccines Market: Needs a booster - Views on News from Equitymaster

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Vaccines Market: Needs a booster

Mar 9, 2002

The global vaccine business has experienced considerable growth and innovation over the past decade with preventive healthcare gaining importance. As explained in our earlier report on vaccines, these drugs are basically antigenic preparation used to stimulate the production of antibodies and procure immunity from one or several diseases. Though the segment is logging attractive growth rates, it faces problems in terms of getting enough R&D attention.

The global vaccine industry at US$ 7 bn is miniscule in terms of total pharma market. Vaccines currently account for only 2% of the global pharmaceutical product sales with few players dominating the industry. The concentration could be explained by the fact that it requires massive R&D investments to develop mass immunisation vaccines.

Further, in recent years, most of the big players have introduced combination vaccines, which have made specific vaccines redundant. For example, Glaxo, with a 25% market share in vaccines dominates this business due to its technological expertise in producing combination vaccines. While the company's combination vaccine sales recorded a growth of 26%, individual vaccines sales dropped 10%.

GSK- Vaccine Product Portfolio
Product Remarks
Harvix Hepatitis A Vaccine.
Viralrix Chickenpox Vaccine.
Energix B Hepatitis B vaccine.
Typherix Thypoid Vaccine.
Twinrix Combinational vaccine for Hepatitis A and B
Tritanrix Combinational vaccine for Hepatitis B and DTP
Infranrix Combinational vaccine for Tetanus and Diptheria

In recent years, advances in biotechnology such as genomics, recombinant DNA and peptides have provided impetus for new vaccine development. However, the demand for vaccines have remained skewed towards developed nations, which account for more than 2/3rd of the total consumption. On the other hand, there is vast untapped potential in developing countries where the demand is slow due to illiteracy. Though health ministries of third world countries have made significant progress by various immunisation programmes, success has been marginal. Again the demand is skewed towards pediatric segment and the adult vaccines segment is largely untapped due to lack of education.

Estimates suggest that the vaccines industry is in for some exciting times with a CAGR of 11-13% targeted for the next ten years. However, the primary area of concern for the industry is that the research in this segment is not very forthcoming. This is due to the fact that unlike pharmaceutical drugs, commercial success is not assured even after a successful discovery, as the response is not very predictable. In this scenario, a key challenge for the industry is to maintain a healthy environment for research and development.

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