The global pharmaceutical fine chemicals market size was valued at USD 78.20 billion in 2016. Rising aging population along with rising health consciousness among consumers is expected to propel demand growth over the forecast period.
Pharmaceutical fine chemicals are also known as fine chemicals. These are pure substances as compared to generic commodity chemicals. These are characterized by their low volume and higher price structure. These pure chemicals are mixed with basic chemicals to convert into complex chemicals, which have varied applications in various fields such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals.
U.S. pharmaceutical fine chemical market by application, 2014-2025 (USD Billion)
The U.S. market was valued at USD 22.46 billion in 2016. The raw material utilized for the manufacturing of pharmaceutical fine chemicals are governed by FDA U.S. The organization has set various quality standards for the raw materials and products manufactured from pharmaceutical fine chemicals. EPA U.S. has laid down guidelines, which encourage setting up of environment-friendly industrial facilities for pharmaceutical fine chemicals, which are also cost effective.
The global market is characterized by major industry participants focusing on the R&D activities. In order, to capture the emerging opportunities in regions such as Asia Pacific and Central & South America, companies are setting up manufacturing facilities to increase their regional footprint.
Cardiovascular was the largest application segment of the market in 2016. The chemicals are utilized to manufacture medicines & drugs for the treatment of heart and blood vessels diseases. This application segment is expected to have high market penetration and high growth over the forecast period.
Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the world today. To treat this, individuals living with diabetes are often subjected to a particular diet. This diet often includes products and medicines, which are highly expensive. On account of these factors, the diabetes segment is expected to witness a high growth rate over the forecast period.
There is a high prevalence of neurological disorders due to factors such as genetic disorders, lifestyle, infections, and malnutrition and brain injury. Pharmaceutical companies have developed products that target the nerve imbalance in the body and try to restore normal neurological function. There are various innovative platforms for drug mechanisms developed recently such as glutamate modulators, which have the capability to treat the neurological disorders. Such trends have benefited the segment and are expected to do so over the forecast period.
Pharmaceutical fine chemicals can play a decisive role in the treatment of cancers of brain, lungs, blood, and liver. The companies have developed departments having a focus on the development of specific drugs intended for specific occurrences such as solid tumor and haemato-oncology. Ongoing R & D activities to develop refined products having better performance regarding oncological treatment is also expected to benefit the market demand over the forecast period.
Proprietary drugs emerged as the largest type segment in 2016, and it is expected to continue its dominance over the forecast period. The global share of non-proprietary drugs was 18% in 2016.
Global pharmaceutical fine chemicals market size by type, 2016 (%)
Proprietary drugs are the drugs that are protected by patents and have a trade name. Companies strive to develop proprietary drugs for achieving maximum profit share. The industry participants are using technologies to manufacture drugs, which are cost competitive as well as effective. Most of the pharmaceutical fine chemicals are used as building blocks for proprietary products.
The pharmaceutical fine chemicals used for non-proprietary drugs manufacturing is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period. A non-proprietary or a generic drug is defined as a drug whose patent has expired. They are sold at a relatively lower price than their proprietary counter parts. Rising awareness regarding generic drugs combined with the patent termination of proprietary drugs is expected to benefit the market demand of the segment over the forecast period.
Big molecules held the highest share of the market in 2016, and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. These molecules are used in applications such as dipeptides, which are used to treat occurrences of cardiovascular diseases. The application of big molecules in vaccination is also driving the segment demand. Big molecule products have entered the market in the recent past in large numbers as compared to small molecules.
Companies have developed small molecules for usages in drug metabolites, drug intermediates, pharmaceutical intermediates, and ingredients. In addition, companies provide various services such as synthesis development, and assistance in setting up commercial production processes for small molecule manufacturing. Industry participants also cater to the customers who demand small molecules in small quantities. Small molecules segment dominates in the approval for new molecular entity approvals. Such trends are expected to benefit the market demand over the forecast period. The emergence of contract and manufacturing organizations (CMO) with integrated processes for manufacturing small molecule intermediates, advanced formulations, and concept-to – commercial manufacturing is also favoring market growth.
Active ingredients emerged as the largest segment in 2016. Companies are maintaining global active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturing facilities to facilitate efficient service to its customers. The molecules are manufactured under stringent quality checks, as customers demand high purity, quality, strength, and identity.
Basic building blocks is a virtual molecular fragment possessing reactive functional group. Building blocks include acids, acid chlorides, esters, brominated derivatives, ketones, nitrile derivatives, and heterocyclic compounds among others. These are used to manufacture various drugs to treat a variety of diseases such as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neurological. Companies producing building blocks are focusing more on quality improvement. The broad applicability combined with the strategies adopted by the manufacturers of building blocks is expected to drive segment growth.
Companies are outsourcing their intermediate manufacturing requirements to offset the economic pressure as well as the regulatory barriers. The companies’ manufacturing advanced intermediates work in collaboration with the large as well as small pharmaceutical companies for sourcing lower cost, and high-quality pharmaceutical intermediates.
North America emerged as the largest consumer in 2016, and the market was valued at USD 29.0 billion in 2016. North America region is characterized by the presence of strict laws and regulations about manufacturing as well as consumption. The claims made by the drug producers regarding the efficacy of their product need to be validated by the proper regulatory agencies before the product launch. The region is also characterized by people having a strong inclination towards preventive healthcare. Also, wide awareness about drug use is also a key regional characteristic.
Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth rate over the next eight years. High population growth in countries such as China and India coupled with the rising disposable income as well the increasing standard of living is catering to market growth in the region. Rising government healthcare expenditure in the region is also expected to benefit the market demand over the forecast period.
Pharmaceutical fine chemical manufacturers have been adopting various strategies such as new product development, joint ventures, and collaborations. These strategies have been adopted to increase market penetration and cater to changing technological requirements for different end-use applications in their specific regions.
Companies operating in the Asia Pacific region suffered a severe setback due to the strict regulatory checks imposed by the western regulatory agencies. The formidable advantage that the enterprises in the region possess about the lower labor costs and environmental costs are rapidly being offset as both these costs are escalating in the region. The region is characterized by the presence of a large number of small players having in line manufacturing capabilities as compared to their western counterparts.
Wide distribution channels along with growing competition among players are expected to open new avenues over the next eight years. Industry participants include Angelini Acraf S.p.A., W.R. Grace & Co., Kenko Corporation, and Albemarle Corporation.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2014 - 2015
2017 - 2025
Revenue in USD Billion, and CAGR from 2017 to 2025
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, Middle East & Africa
U.S., UK, Germany, China, Japan
Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
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Segments covered in the report
This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis on the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global pharmaceutical fine chemical market on the basis of application, type, size, product and region:
Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2014 - 2025)
Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2014 - 2025)
Size Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2014 - 2025)
Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2014 - 2025)
Basic building blocks
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2014 - 2025)
Central & South America
Middle East & Africa
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