China where liver diseases prevail has maintained the demand for interferon worth more than RMB4 billion in recent years, of which hepatitis B-use interferon accounts for over 60% of the entire interferon market. However, the hepatitis B-use interferon market rapidly shrank in 2016 under the impact of the expired patented drugs, the substitution of nucleoside drugs and other factors, resulting in the sharp year-on-year decline of 50.4% in the interferon revenue (RMB361 million) of Chinese sample hospitals in 2016; it was estimated that Chinese interferon market size hit about RMB2.22 billion in the whole 2016.
It is expected that Chinese interferon market will be hard to turn the declining situation around in the next few years. Both of the sluggish hepatitis B-use interferon market and the launch of DAAs drugs will make the hepatitis C-use interferon market suffer a crisis. At present, the overseas hepatitis C-use interferon market has been significantly affected by DAAs drugs and slumped. Although DAAs drugs are not available in China, more than 30 companies have filed for DAAs drugs and DAAs drugs are expected to be revealed in this country within 2 years, which will impact the domestic interferon market once again then.
In recent years, Chinese interferon market is mainly occupied by Roche and MSD, which seize more than 60% market share together, while local Chinese peers represented by Anke Biotechnology, Kawin Technology and Tri-Prime Gene grasp no more than 5% apiece. But in 2016, the contracted hepatitis B-use interferon market dramatically dragged down the combined market share of Roche and MSD to about 40%.
Interferon is mainly divided into ordinary interferon and long-acting interferon. Compared with ordinary interferon which should be injected three times a week, long-acting interferon is injected only once a week, which significantly reduces the patients' medication compliance with less side effect. Yet, Chinese long-acting interferon market has been monopolized by Roche and MSD which offer high prices.