According to an IMS Health study, global sales of biotech drugs increased 12.5 percent in 2007 to more than $75 billion that is twice as fast as the pharmaceutical market, which increased 6.4 percent in 2007.

During the past five years, the range of biotech products and their use in multiple therapy areas have steadily increased, creating a major source of market growth. Twenty-two biotech products generated sales exceeding $1 billion in 2007, compared with just six products in 2002.

The growth is the result of several factors, including additional indications for existing products, recent innovations, and the growth of biologic drug sales outside the U.S. Oncology, auto-immune agents, diabetes drugs and vaccines accounted for most of the growth. Last year, 22 biotech products exceeded $1 billion in sales, compared with just six products in 2002.

Last year, targeted oncology therapies, autoimmune agents, anti-diabetic agents, and pure vaccines represented both the majority of the market and majority of growth. The US remains the largest market for biotech products, representing 56 percent of total sales last year. The five major European countries have steadily increased their share of this market over the past five years, to 24 percent in 2007. Japan's share of the market has declined slightly and now represents just five percent of global biotech sales, but significantly higher than other Asian markets.

According to IMS, in the next five years, the global biotech market will more closely parallel the traditional pharmaceutical marketplace, reflecting changing industry dynamics. Biotech is now facing a new reality. Loss of exclusivity and competition from biosimilars, crowded therapy areas with weaker sales growth, payers showing more reluctance to fund innovative drugs without compelling value propositions, and safety concerns for some therapies will all contribute to a more moderate growth environment through 2012.