The antibiotics market is at risk of losing another decade to inadequate levels of research and innovation, according to international intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk’s new report From rare to routine—medicines for rare diseases, vaccines and antibiotics. Research highlights the striking difference between research levels into rare diseases, vaccines and antibiotics across the globe.
The report looks at patent filing trends in the rare diseases, vaccines and antibiotics markets over the last decade.
Dr. Gareth Williams, European patent attorney and partner at Marks & Clerk, said, “With research into new antibiotics classes averaging fewer than 5% of total antibiotic research patents filed over the last 10 years, something has to shift in order to avoid losing another decade to the growing threat of antibiotic-resistance. What is more, in terms of patent filings, antibiotics research as a whole is clearly lagging behind research areas like rare diseases, where a huge number of patents are consistently being filed each year.
“The list of Top Filers in antibiotics research, which is topped by Chinese companies, shows that this has not been a priority area for big pharma over the last decade,” said Williams. “Governments around the world are implementing strategy reviews as they look to confront the problem of antibiotic-resistance. We hope the results of these reviews, together with increasing public pressure and media attention, will result in an increase in research into antibiotics, particularly from big pharma. The U.S. is a clear leader in this area, but the statistics suggest it is less dominant than in rare diseases and vaccines, with China in particular innovating more and more.”
Williams said, “Medicines for rare diseases tell a wholly different story. No doubt in large part thanks to the government incentives put in place to encourage orphan drug research, the field is dominated by the world’s largest healthcare companies. Research in this area shows little sign of abating, with patent filing numbers gradually regaining their pre-financial crisis level.”