Thursday, March 4, 2010

Small molecules or biopharmaceuticals

The movement of big pharma into biologics (biopharmaceuticals) understandably has a direct effect on pharmaceutical landscape. Companies shows a diminishing portfolio revenue from small molecules drugs, primarily because of patent expiration on blockbuster drugs (small molecules) and also due to the reallocation of industry resources towards biologics.

Biologics represent one of the most promising frontiers in pharmacotherapy, USFDA approved more biologics in 2009, the figure include 19 new molecular entities (NMEs) and six novel biologics. In 2008 FDA approved 21 NMEs and 3 novel biologics. A substantial improvement in biologics approvels in 2009. (fig.1, Nature medicine,139,16,2010) and it is expected to take over from small molecule field in the coming years( fig 2, Nature reviews/drug discovery ), But their cost can be substantial, reaching $ 200,000 or more annually for treatment (Cerezyme) and the large molecules drugs are administered via injection – a less popular option with patients.

Biologics are gradually going to replace the traditional approach to drug design. Students need to understand industries changing need, if they plan on carriers in this area.

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