The European vaccines market is set to grow by an average of 9.6% each year to 2018, when it will have reached a value of $12.05 billion, according to new forecasts.

In 2011, the European market earned revenues of $6.36 billion and, looking toward 2018, technology innovation plus an increasing focus on new vaccine development are expected to revolutionise the industry from prophylactic to therapeutic vaccines, according to the study, from Frost & Sullivan.

As vaccine manufacturers increasingly tend to leverage on novel technologies, and potential late-stage vaccine candidates progress the pipeline and reach the commercialisation stage, sales in the European market are set to show significant growth, says the report. Next-generation vaccines such as edible plant-based vaccines could also have a major impact on product developments, it adds.

The high levels of unmet medical need for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB) - which affect millions of people every year and contribute to increasing healthcare expenditure - present huge growth potential and untapped market opportunities, thereby fuelling increased R&D investment and government support for vaccine development, says F&S.

"The future growth of the vaccine industry is likely to be propelled by the adult vaccines segment," forecasts Aiswariya Chidambaram, a research analyst at the company.

"The tremendous success rates of the recently-launched influenza and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have attracted the attention of market participants towards the adult vaccines. The vast majority of the vaccines in pipeline are novel, innovative vaccines based on new antigens, targeting malaria, TB, dengue fever and herpes," she adds.

The study also finds that anticipation of capacity demand remains a key challenge for vaccine manufacturers, particularly during pandemic outbreak of diseases.

"Speculation of vaccine production capacity considering unanticipated needs such as pandemic outbreaks, epidemics and bioterrorism is likely to have a huge impact on the growth and sustenance of vaccine manufacturers in Europe," comments Ms Chidambaram. "Vaccine manufacturers are under the compulsion to maintain excess reserve supply owing to the tender-based vaccine procurement, lest they miss out on huge business opportunities,” she points out.

Therefore, it will be critical for market players to be able to make accurate estimates of capacity demand and product differentiation, in order to garner substantial shares of the market, says the report.

"The highly-fragmented nature of the European market will require market participants to accurately predict manufacturing capacity and fulfil global requirements during emergency situations, thereby enabling them to stay ahead of the competition and prevent being hit by excess or inadequate capacity," Ms Chidambaram concludes.