Monday, October 18, 2010

PharmAsiaSummit: Emerging Markets Are Growth, Growth, Growth, But Where's The Beef?

Windhover's PharmAsiaSummit is October 25-26 in San Francisco. For a more information and a complete PharmAsiaSummit agenda, visit our website or email Josh Berlin to learn more. We hope to see you in San Francisco. What follows is an advertisement for the meeting.

A recent forecast by IMS Health demonstrates much of what we've been hearing in emerging markets over the last several years. The market research firm forecasts 15-17% growth next year in the 17 countries designated as "pharmerging" markets, which includes the usual suspects (the BRIC countries), as well as fast followers ranging from Turkey to Indonesia to Mexico.

To be sure it's off a smaller base, but the base is growing, and next year IMS predicts revenue will reach $170-$180 billion. In other words, it isn't peanuts.

In 2011, pharmerging markets will equal roughly half the size of the US market ($320-$330 billion), which will grow at a comparatively paltry 3-5%, IMS says.

China, of course, is the Big Kahuna, with a pharma market set to reach $50 billion next year, making it the third largest. With a growth rate of 25-27% - fueled by demographics (a rapidly aging population and urbanization, for instance) and a massive government push to extend basic health insurance to China's 1.3 billion population - it is no wonder that IMS recently raised China to its own tier as part of its analysis, essentially separating the C from the BRI.

Although much of the growth will come from local manufacturers selling branded generics, there is plenty of growth to go around. Pfizer, for instance, is the largest foreign pharma in China, yet it's captured only 2% of the market, Morgan Stanley notes in a recent report. In India, Abbott is the top dog following its acquisition of Piramal earlier this year, yet it commands only 6% of India's famously fragmented market.

It's no wonder that pharmas from Pfizer to Abbott to Merck to AstraZeneca have jumped into the branded generics space, looking to sell off-patent medications in emerging markets and in some cases partnering with Indian generic companies to expand their offerings.

The editors of our sister publication, PharmAsia News, which has boots on the ground in China, India and elsewhere in Asia, like to talk about the excitement they hear from sources and friends in the industry - excitement about growth opportunities, new models for R&D, commercial strategy, China healthcare reform and so forth.

But one thing we often find missing in the discussion is specifics. What, specifically, are the right commercial strategies for China, or India or Korea? What, specifically, should biopharma companies do to take advantage of China health care reform? What, specifically, are the opportunities for partnerships or outsourcing in China? What specifically, should you do to protect intellectual property in India?

Who should you talk to? What case studies are relevant? Where should you place your bets?

Specifics are hard to come by via channels we use in the West - the media for instance or trusted websites. In Asia, most important lessons are discussed offline, and things change so quickly in markets like China and India that what worked last year might not work today.

In short, you need a strong, local network to understand the rapidly changing market.

That's the idea behind our PharmAsia Summit. We've decided to bring some of our Asia network to San Francisco this month to talk about specifics - what works, what doesn't, and what you need to know to succeed. If you're based in the U.S., it's a great chance to meet face-to-face with Asia pharma leaders.

We won't have all the answers - no one does. And what works today might not work tomorrow. But what you'll have is a forum where industry leaders - from Biogen Idec's Gunther Winkler to Merck's Ramesh Subrahmanian to Onyx's Tony Coles - will discuss Asia case studies on dealmaking, commercial strategy, outsourcing, regulatory risks, IP protection, and pricing and reimbursement.

We'll have leading Asia investors like OrbiMed's Jonathan Wang, top China analysts like Piper Jaffray's Hongbo Lu, commercial gurus like MSD's Sanjiv Navangul - a key figure behind Merck's groundbreaking strategy for Januvia in India - and IMS Health Asia VP Jan Willem Eleveld, who will provide the latest Asia data and trends.

And as policies are changing so quickly in Asia, we also have a few regulators making the trip, including Shanghai FDA's Yi Chengdong, Korea FDA's Hong Soon Wook, and U.S. FDA country directors from China and India, Chris Hickey and Bruce Ross.

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