Guest Column | March 26, 2024

Examining The Growth Of Biopharma In Developing Countries

By Ellie Gabel, Revolutionized

Ellie Gabel
Ellie Gabel

Biopharma companies operating in developing countries play important roles in supporting the world’s health needs and stimulating the economies of their respective nations. Many are growing, but that success doesn’t come easily.

Which Countries Are Succeeding And Why?

India is an excellent example of a developing country with a healthy biopharma industry. As of 2023, it was among the top 12 global biopharma destinations and the third-largest hub for such products in the Asia-Pacific region. The country is also a leading producer of biosimilars.

Government support is one of the biggest reasons for India’s growth and success. For example, 2017’s National Biopharma Mission empowered more than 150 small to medium-sized enterprises and startups. India has also developed a strong reputation for low-cost drugs and vaccines.

Brazil is also attracting attention as a developing nation in the biopharmaceutical industry. One reason is its robust clinical trial activity, driven by significant industry-sponsored efforts in the country. In 2022, Biotimize launched a $30 million Series A funding round, intending to use the funds for Brazil’s first contract development and manufacturing organization in biopharma.

South Africa is another nation making progress. The government supports the country’s manufacturing efforts to boost biopharmaceutical output for the domestic market.

Overcoming Challenges In Developing Countries

Setting up and maintaining a biopharma plant in a developing nation can include many obstacles. Sometimes, decision-makers reduce them with relatively simple but effective internal process improvements. For example, single-use tubes and systems can minimize cleaning requirements and downtime, resulting in better production output.

Tailored initiatives can also reduce obstacles. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has facilitated technical cooperation and given advice to advance pharmaceutical production in developing countries. Those efforts could ease the burdens of the more than 2 billion people worldwide who cannot access necessary medications.

Well-established pharmaceutical companies have also announced strategic efforts to support biopharma startups and improve drug access in some of the world’s poorest nations.

New Initiatives In Developing Countries

Collaboration is a significant factor in furthering the growth of biopharma industries in developing countries. For example, German company BioNTech is working with three African countries — including South Africa — to increase the continent’s vaccine production by a 2040 target.

Representatives from Cuba and India have also expressed interest in joint pharmaceutical industry projects. The pooling of resources and knowledge across developing countries could accelerate research and capacity to help boost both nations’ biopharmaceutical progress.

Indian decision-makers set their sights on using genomic analysis to stimulate growth in the country’s biopharmaceutical industry. Genomic sequencing has gradually become more cost-effective in India, and government officials recognize the power of this technology and expertise to improve personalized medicine and drug development.

Cipla — a Mumbai-headquartered pharmaceutical company — recorded record-high quarterly revenue in January 2024. Analysts attribute the success to numerous factors, including growth in branded prescriptions and trade generics.

Analysts also anticipate an uptick in the Brazilian biopharmaceutical market due to increasing demand for anti-rheumatic drugs and rising generic drug sales. The country’s aging population is a major factor triggering this rise. Data forecasts a 2.41% compound annual growth rate for Brazil’s anti-rheumatic products by 2027.

A Promising Future For The Biopharmaceutical Industry

Operating a biopharma facility in a developing country isn’t easy, and many companies taking this path encounter unforeseen challenges. However, these factories can also become very profitable and in demand for those involved.

One of the positive factors is that people will always need products to help them maintain their health, even during economic downturns. Additionally, more drug development professionals use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data to find the best candidates. Therefore, the time needed to get new products on the market should gradually decline as the process becomes less expensive.

About The Author:

Ellie Gabel is a freelance writer and the associate editor for Revolutionized. She is passionate about how advancements in science and technology impact our lives, and she focuses on covering the latest innovations in those spaces. She lives in Raleigh, NC.