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Japanese pharma companies predict 17 per cent growth in 2017


CPhI research shows that the biologics and generics sector are driving growth over the next year

CPhI Japan, organised by UBM EMEA and UBM Asia, returned to Tokyo for its 16th edition with the release of new research into the Japanese pharmaceutical market. Over 90 domestic and international companies attending the event were surveyed to provide a holistic picture of the country’s best growth opportunities. Overall, domestic companies in Japan are forecasting a staggering 17 per cent growth in 2017, highlighting renewed buoyancy in the Japanese pharma economy following several years of limited growth.

A sector-by-sector analysis showed that 56 per cent of companies believed that biologics and biosimilars showed the offered for the fastest growth over the next year. Companies reported that the most popular biopharma product classes under development are anticancer (72 per cent) and enhanced immune class drugs (48 per cent) – including cutting-edge technologies such as checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. PD1), chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).

Japan has the world’s third largest pharma industry and traditionally its domestic market has thrived. Consequently, only 18 per cent of business for Japanese pharma companies is undertaken in international markets. However, the research highlights that over two thirds of the companies surveyed are now looking to target international markets over the next year. Half of these companies are targeting the US, 27 per cent are focussing on China and Korea, but with very few looking to Europe. This may be due to the favourable reimbursement systems within the US, whilst cultural ties to neighbouring high growth economies also provide opportunities.

The Japanese Government has committed to increase the market penetration of generics and 28 per cent of those surveyed stated that the ‘greatest potential for growth lies with finished dose generic drugs’. A majority (60 per cent) of Japanese pharma companies believe that domestic manufacturers will meet the country’s generic pharma demands. However, they acknowledge that there is also a role for international manufacturers; in particular, 26 per cent agree that there are large opportunities for Indian generic manufacturers.

Nearly 80 per cent of Japanese companies are reviewing their ‘strategic approach due to the impending patent cliff’, with 77 per cent saying they would predict ‘increased partnerships between Japanese pharma and generic companies’. The success of the Takeda-Teva collaboration has provided a model that companies can replicate when looking for potential future partnerships.

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