WELCOME LETTER

We are pleased to launch Italy Life Sciences 2021, GBR’s first Italian-dedicated report focused on the life sciences industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotech, med-tech, digital therapeutics, nutraceuticals, diagnostics and packaging. After a decade of successfully reporting on some of the world’s largest pharma markets, including the US, India and China, GBR has turned its focus to Italy, a country heavily tested by the pandemic but that, we argue, has a unique opportunity to strengthen its role as an important European pharmaceutical hub. Italy does not have the span of US innovation or the scale of Asian manufacturing, but it is an essential API house to the American-European markets while boasting a characteristically strong research tradition. These qualities have never been as important as in a post-2020 world when the pharma industry and its lifesaving drugs have gained unprecedented public, political and investor attention, increasing the value placed on both drug security and drug innovation. Italy has become the top European pharma manufacturer, on a par with Germany, as well as one of the biggest pharma exporters globally. Rather than driven by a handful of multi-billion Big Pharma businesses, Italy’s industry has grown on the back of mostly mid-sized, often family-owned players. The production volumes speak for themselves, but Italy’s innovation space is less known. GBR was pleased to learn about many Italian-born, breakthrough therapies that herald the transformation of modern medicine. But while Italy smartly leverages its manufacturing capabilities domestically and abroad, many of its original ideas remain trapped in the lab. At the same time, existing original and equivalent drugs are struggling with low and very low market prices. “Is Italy’s healthcare system effective?” will likely yield different answers from patients, medical professionals, public authorities, and the life sciences industries. In this report, we look at the difficulties of trying to align these different stakeholders, and what this means for the industry. We also ask questions about how much and how well software can replace the pill and/or the doctor? What are the challenges around tapping into the rare diseases market? How are Italy’s CMOs preparing to respond to ever more complex molecules? Under the “life sciences” title, we encompass a broad universe of products, from chemical drugs to cutting-edge stem cell therapies and AI-powered diagnostics, to hopefully offer a realistic guide to this very diverse industry. Thanks to each of the 70 interviewees we spoke with during the course of our research, as well as to our partner associations for your time and support, and I wish everyone an informative and enjoyable read.

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