The ability to treat complex disorders with lesser side-effects has accelerated growth of monoclonal antibodies but high developmental costs "constitute a major barrier for mid-segment market entrants".

These are the key points of new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, which notes that the mAb market earned revenues of $19.01 billion in 2011. It estimates this to reach $42.37 billion in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate of 12.1%.

F&S analyst Deepika Pramod Chopda notes that “with the rise in disease incidence rate and deterioration in human health conditions, the need for innovative and effective cure has been in great demand". However, it involves a complex production process, expensive biological and chemical materials and clinical trials, as well as required safety, efficacy and quality tests, the report notes.

The average production cost of developing mAbs ranges from $650-$750 million and takes about eight to nine years. This factor "particularly hinders the entrance of small biotech companies", F&S notes, but on the other hand, "the rise in other specialty pharmaceuticals with biotech invasion is expected to expand therapeutics at niche levels, thereby creating opportunities for bigger and better biologics business".

Ms Pramod Chopda said that alliances between big pharma and small biotech firms for developing biologics "is a key trend observed in this market”, noting that “high developmental costs due to expensive research and testing activities trigger the overall expenditure of mAbs". She concluded by saying that pacts with "financially adept companies will help small biotech firms to develop new technologies, thus encouraging product development within this market".