This new era in the biopharmaceutical industry promises to introduce a wave of innovative products, including therapies for conditions with high unmet medical needs. Driven by significant investments in research and development, there are more than 7,800 products in clinical development spanning a wide range of therapeutic areas—from cancer to cardiovascular medicine and diabetes to neurology.
And the fast-growing pipeline includes products that may provide physicians with new approaches to combat diseases, as nearly 70 percent of clinical-phase projects have the potential to best first-in-class treatments.
While scientific advances and innovation across the biopharmaceutical industry offer tremendous hope for patients worldwide, the path to commercialization is complex and can be fraught with challenges. Emerging biopharma companies account for 65 percent of the molecules in research and development pipeline. Many of these small- to mid-sized biopharma companies seek a partner that can help them navigate the challenges of a dynamic and ever-changing market and maximize product success.
“Biopharma companies are at the forefront of medical innovation,” said Willis Chandler, President of Biopharma Services, Strategic Global Sourcing, and Commercial Solutions at AmerisourceBergen, a global healthcare company. “They want a partner that understands the unique characteristics of their product and can deliver support tailored to their specific needs to simplify challenges throughout the commercialization journey and help them unlock product potential and accelerate access.”
Chandler, who moved into his position in the fall, said AmerisourceBergen continues to make strategic investments and deploy new solutions to elevate and evolve its end-to-end suite of commercialization services. As part of the company’s commitment to delivering a more efficient and enhanced customer experience, AmerisourceBergen recently integrated its patient services, innovative field solutions and consulting into one team.
“We know our biopharma partners value the services we offer—from best-in-class capabilities within outcomes research and economic modeling to patient services, reimbursement support and global market access consulting,” said Chandler. “We saw an opportunity to pull these capabilities into a unified offering. Our goal is to make it easy to work with AmerisourceBergen across service lines and to deliver results on the outcomes that are more important to our partners.”
The continued growth in the pharmaceutical pipeline is mirrored by a steady increase in the global pharmaceutical market. More biopharma companies are looking to bring products to market around the world, including in Europe. The Europe pharmaceutical market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 5 percent from 2021 to 2028.
As the global pharmaceutical market continues to expand, AmerisourceBergen’s network of global businesses—including Alliance Healthcare, a leading distributor of healthcare products in Europe, and World Courier, a global specialty logistics provider—have made significant investments to open new facilities and broaden their logistics services in strategic markets worldwide. The investments enhance the company’s ability to deliver clinical supply support and commercial drug storage and distribution, including temperature-controlled solutions for specialty pharmaceutical products, said Doug Cook, EVP and President, Business Group—Global, at AmerisourceBergen.
AmerisourceBergen is also expanding its global consulting capabilities. The company, which already has a robust team of experts in real-world evidence and HEOR based in Germany and the UK, is making investments to increase its team and capabilities in existing and new markets.
While the U.S. market is complicated by the sheer number of payers and reimbursement designs, Europe is complicated because companies have to navigate varying regulations and requirements across the different countries. When developing their market access strategies, biopharma companies need to understand the factors that influence the approval and decision-making processes related to reimbursement, coverage and pricing. And with the new European Union Health Technology Assessment (HTA) regulation, the eventual transition to a European joint clinical assessment—which will be applied in full for certain drugs starting in January 2025—will significantly change market access and the interaction of companies with HTA bodies.
“With most small to mid-sized biopharma companies, they may have expertise on one side of the Atlantic but they want that expertise and resources when launching in a market they are unfamiliar with—whether that is in the U.S., Europe or other international markets,” said Tommy Bramley, SVP of Consulting at AmerisourceBergen. “Our global market access consulting, coupled with our in-country expertise and capabilities, enables us to work alongside our partners to build effective strategies that support product launches and ultimately help patients around the world benefit from these innovative products.”
In today’s increasingly dynamic healthcare market, one theme consistently emerges from conversations with biopharma companies in Europe: “they want a partner that can deliver flexible solutions to simplify challenges throughout the product lifecycle and get medicines to patients on-time and in the right condition,” said Andy Richmond, Vice President of Manufacturer Services at Alliance Healthcare.
Pointing to the global scale and capabilities of a combined AmerisourceBergen and Alliance Healthcare, Richmond says there has been an increase in US-based biopharma companies looking to bring a product to market in Europe that have engaged Alliance for a full-service partnership. For example, AmerisourceBergen’s global market access consulting services, coupled with Alliance’s manufacturer solutions and distribution capabilities across Europe, enables Alliance to offer enhanced, differentiated value to its partners across the commercialization journey, Richmond said.
As Alliance Healthcare continues to work alongside its biopharma partners, one priority continues to be collaborating to establish more sustainable operations across the supply chain. Richmond points to innovative ways Alliance Healthcare is looking to use existing delivery services to better manage returns and recycling, and investments the company has made in trialing electric vehicles in its fleet—most notably in the Netherlands—whilst building new facilities with sustainability as a core focus.
“I think this will be the single biggest differentiator over the next decade in the pre-wholesale and wholesaling space,” Richmond said.