By Cliff Mintz
The biopharmaceutical market, estimated to be about $40B annually, is one of the fastest-growing segments of the life sciences industry. It is growing four times as fast as the small-molecule market, and biopharmaceuticals are expected to represent 30% of all marketed drugs within the next five years. By 2010, as many as 13 blockbuster biopharmaceutical drugs with annual sales of $10B to $18B will lose patent protection. This, coupled with increasing downward pricing pressures for biopharmaceuticals and biologics, has created an enormous commercial opportunity for companies interested in developing biosimilars — also known as follow-on biologics (FOBs) — or lower-cost, generic versions of many blockbuster biopharmaceutical products.