The pharmaceutical industry has long been dominated by large corporations with deep pockets and extensive resources, but that is changing. Smaller companies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations are making significant contributions to the field, thanks to advances in technology and changes in the industry that have made it easier for them to enter the market.

The Rise of Smaller Players in the Industry

This shift has been driven in part by the high cost of drug development, which has made it difficult for smaller companies and research institutions to compete in the market. However, the trend is changing as more small companies decide to launch their products themselves. Globally, those first-time launchers account for more than a quarter of all new molecular entities submitted to the US FDA since 2016. That share is expected to rise even further over the next few years, with 22 out of 39 blockbuster launches due to come from first-time launchers between 2021 and 2025 [2].

This represents a significant increase over the period from 2016 to 2020, when less than 20% of blockbusters came from first-time launchers [2]. Although many of the new launchers may be destined to become acquisition targets for large pharma companies, the market shift from established to emergent players looks set to continue. That, in turn, will serve to heighten the interest of venture capitalists and other investors in biopharma and biotech.