8 Biopharma Trends to Watch in 2020
December 6 , 2019
December 16, 2019

Source:GEN,Peshkova/Getty Images

According to the article “8 Biopharma Trends to Watch in 2020” published by Alex Philippidis on GEN(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), there are eight biopharma-related trends in the coming new year. Presidential election, mergers and acquisitions, gene therapy CDMOs, Alzheimer’s disease, venture capital deals, CRISPR legal wrangle, genome editing adoption, prime editing will all be the most likely drivers for the biopharmaceutical industry.

Below is a list of eight biopharma-related trends cited by experts and others with a stake in the industry, as articulated in interviews with GEN, or in reports and other public statements.

Presidential election

President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders of both parties seem to have found common ground on one issue: All have jawboned in recent years about the need to curb rising prices for prescription drugs. Whether all that talk will translate into any action will depend on who wins the White House and Congress in November.

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

Drivers of M&A deals include a desire by biopharmas to source about half of their drug pipelines externally rather than through internal R&D—especially for candidates further along in development: “M&A isn’t necessarily the best way to buy a preclinical or a Phase I pipeline, but it is certainly a good way to buy revenue streams or late-stage drugs, especially if they perhaps have just gained approval, and they need a commercial partner to maximize value.

Gene therapy CDMOs

In the next year or two, there will be more M & A activities in the CDMO industry. It’s unlikely that the biggest CDMOs will be buying all of the little ones. It’s more likely that the medium-sized CDMOs will add to their businesses by acquiring the smaller ones. And the big CDMOs will acquire the medium ones.

Alzheimer’s disease

One key area of drug development for which answers are expected to emerge in 2020 is in Alzheimer’s disease. In October, Biogen surprised many market analysts by announcing that it plans to file for FDA approval of the Alzheimer’s candidate aducanumab, being co-developed with Eisai, despite halting two failed Phase III studies of the drug in March.

Venture capital deals

Venture capital (VC) financing continued to flow to early-stage companies, including freshly spun-out startups, in the most recent third quarter of 2019. However, while the number of deals stayed steady compared with Q3 2018, the dollar value of those deals has slipped noticeably when Q1–Q3 2019 is compared with a year earlier—a trend expected to continue as rates of economic growth slow in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

CRISPR legal wrangle

CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology was born in 2012. Since then, it has been widely used in various fields. However, this technology patent is based on the research results of multiple institutions, so there have been problems of unclear property rights and constant patent disputes. This presents an opportunity for the parties to resolve the issue through a licensing model. 

Genome editing adoption

Adoption of genome editing is accelerating, as the technology finds broader usage beyond traditional human drug development. Some of the more exotic approaches like cell therapies, gene therapies that are being used in humans, are now being adopted toward companion animals as well. As for human therapeutics, users of gene editing are increasing their focus on the efficiency of the cutting, specifically minimizing off-target effects that have always been a concern.

Prime editing

A new mechanism for genome editing called prime editing was introduced on Nature in October. It does not make double-strand breaks in the target sequence or use a donor DNA template. It is possible that such gene editing technology may potentially be considered more attractive than base editing.

Source:Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

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