You are here

Report: Worldwide Orphan Drug Market to Grow to $127 Billion by 2018

Predicted growth rate is double that of overall prescription drug market (Apr. 23)

The worldwide orphan drug market is set to reach $127 billion by 2018, accounting for nearly 16% of total prescription drug sales, according to a new report from EvaluatePharma, a London-based firm specializing in life-science sector analysis. The report sheds light on the market dynamics of orphan drugs — pharmaceutical products aimed at rare diseases or disorders — projecting that sales will experience a compound annual growth rate of 7.4% between 2012 and 2018, nearly double that of the prescription drug market, excluding generics.

For pharmaceutical companies, the new findings confirm hypotheses that orphan drugs offer a greater return on investment than non-orphan drugs. Orphan drugs that have been filed for regulatory review or that are in phase III trials provide a 1.7-times greater return on investment than non-orphan drugs. Moreover, the analysis shows that phase III development costs for orphan drugs are half of those of non-orphan drugs.

The report’s key findings include:

  • In 2012, orphan drug sales increased 7.1% to $83 billion from the previous year. That compares with a 2.1% decline in overall prescription drug sales (excluding generics), which fell to $645 billion.
  • Novartis will maintain its position as the world’s No. 1 orphan drug company in 2018, with expected sales of $11.8 billion.
  • Kyprolis (Onyx Pharmaceuticals), a multiple myeloma therapy, was the most promising new orphan drug in 2012, with U.S. sales expected to reach $897 million in 2017.
  • The number of orphan drug designations in the U.S. fell 7% in 2012, marking the first decline since 2007. Orphan designations in Europe increased 44%, reversing a decline in 2011.
  • Of the 43 new drugs approved by the FDA in 2012, 15 were orphan drugs, representing 35% of the industry’s new drug output.

Source: EvaluatePharma; April 23, 2013.

Recent Headlines

U.S., Australia, and Canada Approve Endometrial Cancer Regimen
Single daily pill combines hypertension, cholesterol drugs
Drug With Androgen Deprivation Therapy Cut Risk of Death by 33% Compared With Placebo + ADT
A Diabetes Drug For People Without Diabetes
Roche Drug Outperformed Standard of Care in Phase 2 Study
Nitrosamine Impurity Also Affects Other Ranitidine Drugs
Mesh Implants, Now Banned by FDA, Work as Well as Hysterectomy
One in Five Kids’ Office Visits Results in an Off-Label Rx
Related Settlement Would End Many but Not All Lawsuits