GBI Research found that this growth will occur despite expected patents expiring for ophthalmology’s three most successful products by 2020.
The products – Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea – are used for the treatment of eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The Global Ophthalmology Drugs Market to 2023 report revealed that new approvals for AMD drugs, such as Lampalizumag, Fovista and Brolucizumab, are expected to exceed the revenue loss of the patent expirations.
Glaucoma and AMD have the most active product pipelines, with 125 and 92 products in development respectively.
Diabetic macular oedema, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye disease were also identified as indicators of product development, GBI Research revealed.
The report found that ophthalmology has the ninth largest pipeline with 839 products currently in active development.
Of the products in development for ophthalmological disorders, 67% are at the discovery or pre-clinical stages of development, with only 32% currently at Phase I or later.
The majority of the pipeline consists of novel active pharmaceutical ingredients, with only a small proportion of products being either generics or repositioned from other indications.
GBI Research associate analyst, Ross Wilkinson, commented that at the later stages of development the proportion of drugs that are novel is lower, and at pre-registration only 59% of products are novel compared to 96% of products at the pre-clinical stage.
“The proportion of the pipeline that is novel is low at later stages due in part to the presence of a large number of generic versions of Allergan’s Restasis, which is the therapy area’s most successful small molecule,” he explained.
He added: “The only products more successful than Restasis are biologics. There are a number of bio-similars in the pipeline but these are at earlier stages of development and often spend longer in clinical development than small molecule generics.”
GBI Research noted that six of the eight most commercially successful pharmaceutical companies operating in ophthalmology – such as Roche, Allergan and Novartis – are among the top 20 in the world.
However, it noted that none specialise in the area. As a result, GBI Research expects smaller, specialised ophthalmology companies to enter the market.