Bayer announced today that 2021 was another record year for its Pharmaceuticals Division in the Asia/Pacific region, with robust growth of 4.8%* delivering sales of more than €5.8 billion. Business in the region contributed to almost one-third of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals global sales.2
Despite lingering COVID-19 challenges, Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division sales outside of China and Japan grew 1-2% in developed markets such as Australia/New Zealand, Korea, and Taiwan. Key growth drivers also came from South Asia with India delivering a strong 11%3 growth and Pakistan at 2%3, and the ASEAN cluster achieving 9%3 average growth across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Newly appointed Head of Commercial Operations for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division in Asia/Pacific, Ying Chen, said: “2021 has been a successful year for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division as we increased our efforts to focus on what matters most – delivering both innovative and essential medicines to patients in Asia/Pacific, despite the challenges from the pandemic. Our consistently strong growth in the region is a testament to our innovation-driven portfolio that delivers value to patients in areas of high unmet medical needs.”
Outside of China and Japan, sales of Xarelto® in Asia/Pacific grew significantly by 12%3 in 2021 over the previous year. Similarly, there was a 10%3 increase in Eylea® sales and it represents one of the most successful product launches in Asia/Pacific to date.
Xarelto remains the most broadly studied novel oral anticoagulant with 100 million patients treated in 130 countries since 2008. More than 47 million vials/pre-filled syringes of Eylea have been sold globally, generating 6.8 million patient years of experience in 100 countries.
Bayer plans to grow its global pharmaceuticals sales by 3-4% in 20222 on a currency and portfolio-adjusted basis. The market outlook for the Asia/Pacific region remains positive, as IQVIA projects an average growth rate of 4-5% in the pharmaceutical markets across the region from 2021 to 2025.
2022 will be a breakthrough year for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division in Asia/Pacific with four upcoming launches of innovative products in the fields of cardiovascular disease and oncology.
Chronic and Cardiovascular Diseases Leading Causes of Death
Every year across the globe, 15 million people die before age 70 from chronic diseases which include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and obesity. Couple that with the fact that by 2050, one in four people in Asia/Pacific will be over 60 years old.
Along with aging, the greatest cumulative impact on health comes from the striking rise in metabolic risks – namely high Body Mass Index (BMI), high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol – accounting for nearly 20% of total health loss worldwide in 2019. Diabetes prevalence is increasing in Asia/Pacific, with over 70 million people living with diabetes in India alone. One in 10 adults worldwide is living with diabetes and out of those, almost half are undiagnosed.
Bayer’s Finerenone, a non-steroidal, selective mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist has demonstrated positive kidney and cardiovascular (CV) outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Up to 40% of people living with diabetes have CKD, which increases the risk of renal failure/dialysis and CV outcomes.
Heart failure is the number one cause of death affecting more than 60 million people worldwide; 50% do not survive 5 years, and 1 in 5 patients will die in 2 years. One person in Australia is hospitalized for heart failure every 8 minutes. Patients in Asia/Pacific suffer from worse outcomes with late presentation of symptoms and huge gaps in treatment for the past decade to address this unmet risk. The key is to optimize the treatment of worsening heart failure early and prevent the next hospitalization. To this effect, the European Society of Cardiology HF Guidelines Task Force published new guidelines in 2021 mentioning worsening heart failure for the first time and emphasized the urgency of establishing foundational therapies faster.
Many traditional therapies work by inhibiting signaling pathways. Bayer’s Vericiguat is a therapy that works by stimulating soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), which leads to improved myocardial and vascular function
More People Diagnosed with Cancer Each Year
Despite seeing incredible progress over the past years, the overall burden of cancer is not decreasing, but increasing, with almost 20 million patients diagnosed with cancer worldwide in 2020.The global cancer burden is expected to be 28.4 million cases in 2040, a 47% rise from 2020.
Some cancers are caused by specific changes in genes and when a neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene joins with an unrelated gene, it is known as tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusion cancer. The cancer is not related to a certain type of tissue or the age of the patient; it can occur anywhere in the body, in both children, and in adults.
Bayer’s oral precision therapy Larotrectinib has shown to be an effective treatment in children and adults with TRK fusion cancer. Only specific genomic tests can detect NTRK gene fusions, the underlying cause of TRK fusion cancer. By testing patients and finding out what is driving their cancer, doctors could target the root of the disease. With emerging research on TRK fusion cancer, we are one step closer to precision medicine, where tumor genetics, rather than where the tumor is in the body, help doctors select specific treatment approaches that could more likely benefit their patients.
Prostate Cancer Second Most Common Cancer in Men
Prostate cancer is the second most diagnosed malignancy in men worldwide. In 2020, an estimated 1.4 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 375,000 died from the disease worldwide. Treatment options range from surgery to radiation treatment to therapy using hormone-receptor antagonists, i.e., substances that stop the formation of testosterone or prevent its effect at the target location; however, in nearly all cases, cancer eventually becomes resistant to conventional hormone therapy. Bayer’s Darolutamide is an oral androgen receptor inhibitor (ARi) that binds to the receptor with high affinity and exhibits strong antagonistic activity, thereby inhibiting the receptor function and the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Clinical Trials Yielding Consistent Results
Globally, clinical trial activity across the pharmaceutical industry saw sustained growth through the pandemic with 5,500 new planned clinical trials starting in 2021, a 14% increase over 2020. Also in 2021, new drug approvals and launches accelerated, with 84 novel active substances launched, double the number five years ago. according to IQVIA. The 15 largest pharmaceutical companies invested a record US$133 billion of R&D expenditure in 2021, representing an increase of 45% since 2016 and a level of investment close to 20% of their recorded sales.
Bayer is continuing to build a strong pharmaceuticals development pipeline, advancing around 50 projects in Phase I to III of clinical development.2 Among these projects, many have the potential to treat various types of cancers, diabetic kidney disease, and chronic heart failure which represent areas of high medical need for the region’s aging population. Asia/Pacific is strongly represented in Bayer’s clinical development activities with 46 ongoing clinical trials conducted in the region throughout 2020 and 2021, and over half of these in the area of oncology.
“We have approximately a quarter of patients from Asia/Pacific represented and enrolled in three key global development trial programs for Bayer Pharmaceuticals’ new breakthrough innovations: for worsening heart failure, chronic kidney disease associated with type 2 diabetes, NTRK fusion cancer, and for various stages of prostate cancer. With today’s digital and decentralized model, participation in trials is more accessible and convenient remotely, allowing us to generate meaningful data to monitor and improve patient outcomes,” said Dr. Catherine Donovan, Head of Medical Affairs, for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division in Asia/Pacific.
Collaborate to Cure
Bayer is fostering collaborations with external partners for accelerating innovation in the development of new medicines. With the support of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) since 2007, Bayer continues to expand its collaboration activities in the Asia/Pacific region and has already invested S$27 million in projects with Singapore institutions to advance clinical and translation research in cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
At its recent Breakthrough Innovation Forum, Bayer announced that it will accelerate investments by its impact investment arm Leaps by Bayer with more than €1.3 billion in funding over the next three years.
“As recovery from the pandemic begins to take shape, the company is working with healthcare professionals across the Asia/Pacific region to transform patient health through science for a better life. Innovation is our company’s lifeblood and so are partnerships and integrated patient care. Putting more resources on the frontlines to educate, detect and treat conditions early before they become more serious can lead to improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare spending,” said Dr. Catherine Donovan.
Commitment to Sustainable Health
For more than 50 years, Bayer has been supporting education programs and rights-based family planning in more than 130 countries, particularly by providing access to modern forms of contraception, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – reaching 7 million women in the Asia Pacific in 2021.
With its expertise in women’s healthcare, the company has committed to providing 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to family planning by 2030. Bayer consistently runs local support programs in the Asia/Pacific region to educate and support women living with hormonal disorders, like endometriosis – a painful disorder affecting 10% of women of reproductive age worldwide – many of whom do not seek early diagnosis and treatment due to various misconceptions. Many women are also affected by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a condition that usually develops in a woman’s late teens in which the ovaries produce high amounts of androgens (male sex hormones) that are usually present in women only in small amounts.
In the Philippines, Bayer held a #DontLiveWithPain online roundtable last March 21, 2022, to highlight the challenges of diagnosing and living with endometriosis, build a community of support for OB-GYNEs and patients; and encourage women to seek out more information on this debilitating condition. The call for awareness on endometriosis continues on April 27, 2022, at 6:00 PM with “Breaking the Cycle: What Pinays Need to Know about Endometriosis”, an online talk to be streamed via Facebook Live on Bayer’s Ask Mara and Mercury Drug Facebook pages.
The Bayer Ask Mara chatbot on Facebook was also upgraded last year with additional features such as a store locator to help find nearby drugstores and an expanded knowledge base covering topics like endometriosis and androgen excess – on top of providing advice on contraception and reproductive health topics at any time.
“Forging ahead with our leadership in women’s healthcare, Bayer Pharmaceuticals is supporting women across Asia/Pacific not only with their family planning needs but also through various stages of their reproductive lifecycles. We are committed to patient programs to shift the treatment paradigm from traditional illness-based and hospital-bound to more sustainable patient-centered preventive care,” said Dr. Ying Chen.