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One week before the custom pharmaceutical chemicals industry heads to DCAT Week, its annual conclave at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Chemical Pharmaceutical Generic Association (CPA), an Italian trade group, has issued a global market overview that may be of interest.
CPA puts the overall global market for active pharmaceutical ingredients at $113 billion in 2012, up from $91 billion in 2008, the year the global economy began to slide into recession. That comes to an annual average growth rate of 5.6%, compared to 7.2% growth between 2004 and 2008. The economic downturn is an obvious cause for the slowdown. But CPA cites some shifts in services to the pharmaceutical industry as contributing to the slowdown.
The group notes that the captive market (APIs manufactured by pharmaceutical companies for their own use) has risen faster than the merchant market (APIs sold to third parties). The captive market has grown 5.8 % to $69 billion; the merchant market has grown 5.1% to $44 billion. CPA also notes an increased demand for value-added services, specifically finished dosage formulation, on the part of drug companies. The trend toward adding finished dosage services is particularly brisk in India and Israel, according to CPA. Consolidation and contraction in the pharmaceutical industry has spurred the demand for finished dosage services.
There are some interesting geographic market variances as well. The highest growth had been Asia over the last four years—an average annual rate of 13.9%. The lowest growth rates are in the U.S., Japan, and Europe—3.8%, 3.4%, and 2.5%. It is also noted that within the global merchant market, generic APIs are growing much faster than the APIs produced for branded pharmaceuticals. The merchant market for generic APIs has grown 7.3% annually on average since 2008 to $22.5 billion, whereas the merchant market for branded APIs has grown 3.1% to $21.5 billion.
None of these figures is particularly surprising, though it seems strange that captive API production is growing faster than the merchant market, given the closure of plants and claims of increased outsoucing at major drug companies. One senses, however, that there will be a rebound in revenue, if not in sales volume, for API suppliers over the next four years. Some sources of potential growth can be gleaned from the trends analyzed by CPA. We are well out of the recession. And the move toward value-added services—including the broadening of research services at firms such as Albany Molecular Research in the U.S. and formulation services at firms such as Siegfried in Europe—is really only getting started. And drug approvals are picking up as the pharmaceutical industry inches toward personalized medicine. The volume of APIs sold will likely not change as significantly as the value of the API-plus (chemicals and services) offered to the downsized drug companies and advancing biotechs and virtual pharmas.
The general “up” vibe at Informex in Anaheim last month will carry forward to New York this week—how much can change in so short a time? It will be interesting to get some four-years-out projections from folks at the Waldorf.
This is a guest blog post from Stu Borman, a C&EN senior correspondent for science, technology & education.
A French-based research team recently had a rare opportunity to get to the heart—quite literally—of some 12th century European history.
Using a battery of scientific equipment, they took a closer look at how the heart of English king Richard I was preserved for posterity.
Also known as Richard the Lionheart because of his military prowess, Richard I was king of England from 1189 to 1199.
He led a Crusade to the Holy Land in 1190, but the mission failed to take Jerusalem, its main objective.
On the way back home he was imprisoned by an Austrian duke and the German emperor and then only released after payment of what was literally a king’s ransom. Continue reading →
Storify: Reaction to USA Today Investigation Revealing Reviews For Arsenic-Based Life Paper #Arseniclife
Usually, Grand CENtral is for roundups and other announcements, but I’m going to invoke overlord privilege to post a Storify summary of something I think is important.
Last week, while working on an article about the chemical make-up of 2000-year-old medicine tablets from a Roman shipwreck, I read that back in 2003 archeologists had unearthed a full canister of cosmetic skin cream, hidden in a Roman temple drain in Southwark, London.
When a Museum of London curator opened up the 2nd century A.D. canister, she found it full of white ointment, awesomely reminiscent of modern-day Nivea cream.
This rare find was then chemically analyzed by University of Bristol’s Richard Evershed, who has a quirky research niche: Figuring out the composition of ancient medical, food and cosmetic concoctions, usually by studying residues leftover on old pottery. (He made news last December by reporting that the fatty deposits on pieces of ancient Polish pottery are Northern Europe’s oldest evidence of cheese-making.)
So what precisely was in the creamy white ointment?
In a 2004 Nature paper, Evershed’s team announced that “the Londinium cream” was primarily made up of animal fat, probably from cattle or sheep. They also detected starch, which was likely isolated by boiling roots and grains in water. In addition, the cream contained a tin dioxide mineral called cassiterite with the chemical formula SnO2.
Then came some reverse engineering. Evershed’s team mixed together a new cream based on the proportions of animal fat, starch and tin dioxide that they had measured in the ancient ointment. Here’s how they describe its aesthetic appeal:
“This cream had a pleasant texture when rubbed into the skin. Although it felt greasy initially, owing to the fat melting as a result of body heat, this was quickly overtaken by the smooth, powdery texture created by the starch. Remarkably, starch is still used for this purpose in modern cosmetics. The addition of SnO2 to the starch/fat base confers a white opacity, which is consistent with the cream being a cosmetic. Fashionable Roman women aspired to a fair complexion, and the Londinium cream may have served as a foundation layer.”
The researchers go on to say that employing tin to color the ointment white would have been safer than using toxic lead-based pigments, which was common in that era. “White Roman face paint typically comprised lead acetate, prepared by dissolving lead shavings in vinegar.”
They write that it’s not clear whether the cream’s maker intentionally opted for tin because it is non-toxic compared to lead. During the 2nd century A.D., Roman society was slowly becoming aware of lead poisoning… But then again, the chemists of that era weren’t very adept at distinguishing lead from tin, note the authors.
Another possibility is that the cosmetic-maker used tin out of convenience, because nearby Cornish mines had abundant deposits of tin dioxide. Or perhaps our cosmetic-maker was an early pioneer of the buy-local scene.
A quick announcement, folks:
Today at 1PM Eastern, Terra Sigillata’s David Kroll will be on HuffPostLive to chat about the stresses of life in academe. Go here for the live event.
A little background: Earlier this month, a survey from jobs website CareerCast concluded that “college professor” was the least stressful job in America. The survey- along with a writeup about it from Forbes’s Susan Adams- drew the collective ire of America’s stressed-out professoriate, as this Inside Higher Ed story explains.
The backlash spawned its own Twitter hashtag- #RealForbesProfessors. And at Forbes, David wrote an explainer- “Top 10 Reasons Being a University Professor is a Stressful Job” – that has garnered north of 85,000 page views.
The CareerCast survey’s definition of stress had the most to do with physical demands, environmental conditions, and occupational hazards. But I venture that next time they do their survey, they’ll broaden that definition.
ScienceOnline2013 is but three short weeks away. Dr. Rubidium and I will be there to make sure that a major chemistry talking point gets a good airing. I’m talking, of course, about chemophobia – the idea that everything “synthetic” or “chemical” is somehow other, somehow less desirable and less safe than what’s “natural” or “organic”. (And the gulf between how chemists and the rest of the world define the word organic? Well, that is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.)
Our session is on Sat, Feb 2, 10:30-11:30 am, Room 3
CHECK OUT THE SESSION WIKI: We’ve posted a slew of links there to spark discussion. What have we missed? Tell us in the comments here or on the wiki itself. You don’t have to be registered for the conference to comment there.
You’ll see from those links that we’ve shared many a facepalm moment about “chemical-free” this-or-that. I can’t help but feel that our conversations have a little bit of that dreaded echo-chamber quality. We folks having the conversations are affirming one another. But are we changing any minds? Are we reaching any influencers? I’m not sure.
I’ll quote Forbes contributor Trevor Butterworth, who said what I’m getting at quite eloquently last August in regard to a particular mainstream media chemophobia flap.
Last May, Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer-winning science writer and a professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin, published a column pleading with the New York Times’ opinion columnist Nick Kristof to stop writing about chemical risk.
Blum’s column got a lot of positive coverage, with many commenters further “fisking” Kristof’s apocalyptic claims and the politics behind them. It made, alas, not a blind bit of difference. At the bookend of summer, Kristof is at it again.
No one ever said that changing minds is easy. In fact, I think it’s one of the hardest things to do. I hope that some of what will emerge from our discussion are some guidelines, some rules of engagement if you will. Chemophobia isn’t just happening in NYTimes op-eds. It happens during work hours and off-hours. Maybe by starting small, we can take back the message.
It’s been a quiet week here on the network, but here’s what has happened on CENtral Science:
Cleantech Chemistry: Fulcrum Promises 75 Cent Ethanol
Grand CENtral: Talkin’ About Climate Science
On a side note, this will be my last stint with the roundup for a while, as I’m due to go out on maternity leave, oh, any day now. In my stead, the fabulous Carmen Drahl will take over the helm of Grand CENtral and keep you informed of happenings on CENtral Science.