Orphan Drugs Show Blockbuster Potential

Today, we’re announcing the results of a new study that analyzes the economic viability of orphan drugs developed to treat rare diseases. The results find that these drugs have the potential to generate as much lifetime revenue as drugs used for more common health conditions.

The peer-reviewed study, “The Economic Power of Orphan Drugs,” was published in Drug Discovery Today, and projects the total value of orphan and non-orphan drugs from 1990 to 2030. Using a combination of drug R&D cost data, industry benchmarks and forecasting tools, the paper finds that today’s blockbuster drugs are not the only money makers.  Following are some of the key findings:

  • Orphan DrugOrphan Drugs Show Blockbuster Potential: The average total present value of orphan drugs is $637 million; compared with $638 million for non-orphan drugs.  On the whole, the orphan drug market was valued at $50 billion globally at the end of 2011.
  • Orphan Drug Growth to Outpace Non-Orphan Drug Growth: The compound annual growth rate for the orphan drug market between 2001 and 2010 was 25.8%, compared to only 20.1 percent for a matched control group of non-orphan drugs.  This data, combined with the increasing number of orphan drug approvals suggest that the growth rate of launched orphan drugs will outshine that on non-orphans over the next 30 years.
  • Cost Offsets Population Size: The analysis demonstrates that the impact of the smaller patient population is offset by the higher price demanded by orphan drugs.  In 2010, the industry’s most expensive drug, Soliris, which costs more than $409 thousand per year for treatment of a rare blood disease brought in $541 million in total sales for Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

For more information on orphan drugs, click here.

This post originally ran on our IP Solutions Blog.

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