A new analysis from market research firm Frost & Sullivan says that the introduction of vaccines for diseases with high burden and continuous investments aimed at boosting production capacity “is driving the growth of this previously unattractive market”.

The sector, which has been associated in some quarters with low profit margins and slow growth rates, has gained momentum in recent years through innovation, claims F&S’ European Vaccines Market analysis. However it produced revenues of $4.50 billion in 2007 and this is estimated to reach $9.85 billion in 2014.

F&S research analyst John Paul notes that "health authorities are prepared to spend on prevention, rather than witness expenditures on vaccine-preventable diseases spiral out of control". He adds that the growing support for vaccinations from doctors “has been fundamental to the growth”.

The report notes that the market has shown remarkable growth in recent years as a result of new treatments in untapped disease segments. It states that “governments' acceptance and reimbursement of such efficient, albeit expensive, vaccines has encouraged market participants to increase investments in R&D and develop innovative and differentiated products”. Innovation in technology has enabled firms to move into promising areas like therapeutic vaccines “where the potential for growth is unlimited”, the report adds.

However, the analysis notes Europe is already at a disadvantage because of the ban on direct-to-consumer marketing, so uptake levels in remain slower than in the USA. Also, companies have to deal with “government policies, perceptions and awareness levels that diverge widely across Europe”.

Mr Paul claims that “a clear comprehension about the dynamics in various regions is important to predict demand and alter business strategies accordingly". He goes on to say that "predicting and meeting demand is one of the most challenging factors in the vaccines industry”, adding that “efficiency in manufacturing and distribution has to be achieved in order to offset limited production capacities and low profit margins”.