Antibodies forecast to stay fastest-growing drugs

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LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) Monoclonal antibodies --injectable medicines that mimic the body's own immune system --will remain the fast-growing segment of the pharmaceuticals market in the next five years, according to a report today.

Independent market analyst Datamonitor said antibody-based treatments, which currently generate global revenues of around 20 billion, dollars would see sales grow 14 per cent a year between 2006 and 2012.

That compares with expected annual growth of just 0.6 percent for traditional small molecule drugs, where a raft of blockbuster products face generic competition between 2010 and 2012.

Monoclonal antibodies are already big sellers for the treatment of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

The market is dominated by a handful of success stories with Roche and Genentech's Avastin, Herceptin and Rituxan, Abbott's Humira and Johnson&Johnson's Remicade accounting for 80 percent of sales in 2006.

The commercial dominance of these products is expected to continue, with the same five drugs forecast to account for 70 percent of 2012 antibody revenues.

But a second tier of newer antibody players is also emerging. Datamonitor expects Biogen IDEC, Amgen, Novartis and UCB to all expand their market presence by 2012.


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