COVID-19 has pushed infectious disease drugs to be top CSAs, says GlobalData

Infectious disease drugs have overtaken oncology as the year’s top therapy area for contract service agreements (CSAs) as companies are shifting their current focus to developing treatments to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 may also be disrupting other therapy areas by reducing service agreements for other non-COVID-19 drugs, as clinical trials are being disrupted by the effects of the pandemic, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Adam Bradbury, PharmSource Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Infectious disease was the most common therapy area for CSAs in H1. Eighteen contract service agreements related to COVID-19 occurred in June alone (excluding emerging market countries), marking a change from historical trends. To give you an idea, oncology was the most common therapy area for CSAs as an average across January 2018 to June 2020, with central nervous system being the second highest during 2018 to 2019. This change is interesting because CSAs offer a valuable insight into what services and therapy areas pharma companies are seeking for commercial or clinical scale manufacturing.” CSA therapy areas are expected to be heavily shaped by the COVID-19 outbreak during 2020, if not in the longer-term, with CMOs and sponsor companies being more involved in the development of related drugs.

Bradbury concludes, “As small-cap companies typically lack the funding to build or acquire manufacturing facilities, their use of contract manufacturers is usually a necessity. The US is likely to be an attractive location as it has the largest drugs market and a significant presence of high-value sponsor pharma companies and CMOs. Additionally, manufacturing agreements are more likely to be openly disclosed in the US and the US has more innovative high-value drugs than low-value generics.”

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