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  • Published On : Sep 2022
  • Code : CMI5214
  • Industry : Pharmaceutical
  • Pages : 165
  • Formats :

The global small molecule drug discovery market was valued at US$ 43,571.6 Mn in 2021 and is forecast to reach a value of US$ 74,672.5 Mn by 2028 at a CAGR of 8.1% between 2022 and 2028. The global small molecule drug discovery market is experiencing strong growth due to the increase in disease burden and growing geriatric population across the globe. Furthermore, rise in demand for small molecule drugs or small molecules is expected to boost the growth of the market. However, factors such as high cost of drug development and strict regulations are expected to hamper growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market.

Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market: Regional Insights

Based on geography, the global small molecule drug discovery market is segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa.

Among regions, North America is expected to gain highest share in the market over the forecast period owing to the rising cases of various chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc. in this region. Cancer continues to be the second most common cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease. For instance, according to the American Cancer Society, in 2022, a total of 1.9 million new cancer cases and 609,360 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in the U.S., which is about 1,670 deaths a day.

Moreover, Asia Pacific is expected to witness robust growth in the global small molecule drug discovery market due to the higher investments in drug discovery. For instance, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian pharmaceutical industry is seeking to move up the global pharmaceutical value chain by investing in R&D for drug development. In FY20, the highest expenditure on R&D done by Lupin, followed by Dr. Reddy’s. India planned to set up a nearly Rs. 1 lakh crore (US$ 1.3 billion) to provide boost to companies to manufacture pharmaceutical ingredients domestically.

Figure 1. Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market Share (%), by Therapeutic Area, 2021

Small Molecule Drug Discovery  | Coherent Market Insights

Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market Drivers:

Increase in prevalence of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc., across the globe is expected to augment growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market over the forecast period. According to World Health Organization (WHO), noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths worldwide. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.3 million), respiratory diseases (4.1 million), and diabetes (1.5 million).

Increase in research and development activities by market players is expected to boost growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market over the forecast period. For instance, in January 2022, Amgen and Arrakis Therapeutics signed a research collaboration focused on the discovery and development of RNA degrader therapeutics against a range of difficult-to-drug targets in multiple therapeutic areas. This new class of targeted RNA degraders consists of small-molecule drugs that selectively destroy RNAs encoding disease-causing proteins by inducing their proximity to nucleases.

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Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2021 Market Size in 2022: US$ 46,883.1 Mn
Historical Data for: 2017 to 2020 Forecast Period: 2022 to 2028
Forecast Period 2022 to 2028 CAGR: 8.1% 2028 Value Projection: US$ 74,672.5 Mn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East: GCC Countries, Israel, and Rest of Middle East
  • Africa: South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa
Segments covered:
  • By Therapeutic Area: Oncology, Central Nervous System, Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Metabolic Disorders, Gastrointestinal, and Other Therapeutic Areas
  • By Process/Phase: Target ID/Validation, Hit Generation and Selection, Lead Identification, and Lead Optimization
Companies covered:

Pfizer Inc., Novartis, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Merck KgaA, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Gilead Sciences Inc., AstraZeneca, Immunocure Inc., Acacia Pharma Gr, 4SC AG, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, 21st Century Therapeutics Inc., and Takeda Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., among others.

Growth Drivers:
  • Increase in prevalence of chronic diseases
  • Increase in research and development activities
Restraints & Challenges:
  • Stringent rules and regulations
  • High cost of drug development

Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market Opportunities:

Rise in demand for small molecule drugs around the world is expected to offer lucrative growth opportunities for players in the global small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, in August 2022, BioDuro-Sundia and X-Chem jointly announced the launch of DNA Encoded Compound Library (DEL) technology services in China to help worldwide pharma companies quickly discover small molecule drugs. As a pioneer in DEL technology, X-Chem’s libraries contain over 250 billion small molecules.

Increasing number of contract organizations for research and development is expected to offer significant growth opportunities for players in the small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, in October 2020, PPD Inc. announced its expansion by opening a new multipurpose clinical research laboratory in Suzhou, China, to offer bioanalytical, biomarker, and vaccine services for clinical trials across all phases of pharmaceutical development.

Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market Trends:

Increasing approval of small molecule drugs is expected to propel growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, in 2020, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approved 53 new therapeutics, 38 of which were small molecules.

Increase in focus on the small molecule drug discovery is expected to drive growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, in April 2022, Artificial intelligence (AI) Company, X-Chem announced that its drug discovery platform, named XD3, is now available to biopharma partners and clients. The end-to-end platform has been designed to help small molecule companies accelerate their path to new medicines.

Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market Restraints:

Stringent rules and regulations are expected to hamper the growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, CDER is responsible for ensuring that medicines sold in the United States are safe and effective. CDER perform limited research in the areas of drug quality, safety, and efficacy through its office of testing and research. Moreover, FDA protects the quality of medicinal products by monitoring drug manufacturers' adherence to the FDA's current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) requirements.

High cost of drug development is expected to hinder growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market. For instance, in recent studies, estimates of the average R&D cost per new drug range from less than US$ 1 billion to more than US$ 2 billion per drug. The higher costs of drug development are thus expected to limit the growth of the market.

Figure 2. Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market Share (%), by Therapeutic Area, 2021

Small Molecule Drug Discovery  | Coherent Market Insights

Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market Segmentation:

The global small molecule drug discovery market report is segmented into Therapeutic Area, Process/Phase, and Region.

Based on Therapeutic Area, the global small molecule drug discovery market is segmented into Oncology, Central Nervous System, Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Metabolic Disorders, Gastrointestinal, and Other Therapeutic Areas. Out of which, Oncology Segment is expected to dominate the market over the forecast period and this is attributed to the rise in prevalence of cancer across the globe. Sorafenib is the first small-molecule targeted drug to be approved for three cancer indications (kidney cancer, liver cancer, and differentiated thyroid cancer).

Cardiovascular Segment is also expected to witness significant growth in the near future and this is owing to the increasing prevalence cardiovascular disease worldwide. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Today, several small molecules are often used to treat cardiovascular diseases.

Based on Process/Phase, the market is segmented into Target ID/Validation, Hit Generation & Selection, Lead Identification, and Lead Optimization. Out of which, Target ID/Validation Segment is expected to dominate the market over the forecast period and this is attributed to the increase in development of pharmaceuticals for therapeutic application.

Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market: Key Developments

In September 2021, Acacia Pharma Group PLC initiated the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-mandated pivotal study for the investigation of Byfavo (remimazolam injection) in the moderate sedation of pediatric patients.

In June 2021, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and AstraZeneca entered into a collaboration to research, develop, and commercialize small molecule drugs directed against the GPR75 target with the potential to treat obesity and related co-morbidities.

In June 2021, 4SC initiated a second clinical collaboration with Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) on a phase Ib trial in Stage II-III Resectable Urothelial Cancer to explore biomarker-driven pre-operative administration of Domatinostat, Nivolumab, & Ipilimumab TURANDOT.

Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market: Key Companies Insights

The global small molecule drug discovery market is highly competitive. This is attributed to the rise demand for small molecules or small molecule drugs, as a result, players in the market are focusing on launching novel products in the market.

Some of the key players in the global small molecule drug discovery market are:

Pfizer Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals, Merck KgaA, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Gilead Sciences Inc., AstraZeneca, Immunocure Inc., Acacia Pharma Gr, 4SC AG, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, 21st Century Therapeutics Inc., Novartis, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., among others.

*Definition: Small molecule drugs are defined as compounds with low molecular weight that are capable of modulating biochemical processes to diagnose, treat, and/or prevent diseases. Most small molecule drugs can be administered orally and can pass through cell membranes to reach intracellular targets.

Small molecule drugs have represented some of the crucial blockbusters in the history of the pharmaceutical industry. Defined as any organic compound with low molecular weight, small molecule drugs have some distinct advantages as therapeutics. Small molecule drugs capable of modulating biochemical processes to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases. Small molecule drugs are the mainstay of medicine, representing around 90 percent of all approved medicines and 75 percent of all new medicines approved in the U.S. in 2020.

Market Dynamics:

High prevalence of chronic diseases, increase in demand for small molecule drugs, rise in focus on small molecule drug discovery, increasing number of contract organizations, and increase in research and development activities are some major factors expected to augment the growth of the global small molecule drug discovery market.

In July 2022, RxCelerate revealed details of a new small molecule discovery platform, named RxNfinity, which leverages machine learning, in silico structure modeling and combinatorial chemistry in a novel workflow that offers significant advantages over the current generation of tools to identify small molecule drugs against a wide range of protein targets.

In July 2022, Dotmatics announced the release of its Small Molecule Drug Discovery Solution, an integrated scientific research and development platform with pre-configured workflows and expanded data management capabilities. The new solution will help companies innovate more easily by leveraging best practices derived from Dotmatics’ 15+ years of experience supporting small molecule drug discovery.

Key features of the study:

  • This report provides in-depth analysis of the global small molecule drug discovery market, and provides market size (US$ Million) and compound annual growth rate (CAGR %) for the forecast period (2022–2028), considering 2021 as the base year.
  • It elucidates potential revenue opportunities across different segments and explains attractive investment proposition matrices for this market.
  • This study also provides key insights about market drivers, restraints, opportunities, new product launches or approval, market trends, regional outlook, and competitive strategies adopted by key players.
  • It profiles key players in the global small molecule drug discovery market based on the following parameters such as company highlights, products portfolio, key highlights, financial performance, and strategies.
  • Key companies covered as a part of this study include Teva Pharmaceuticals, Merck KgaA, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Gilead Sciences Inc., AstraZeneca, Immunocure Inc., Acacia Pharma Gr, 4SC AG, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, 21st Century Therapeutics, Novartis, Pfizer Inc., and Takeda Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., among others.
  • Insights from this report would allow marketers and the management authorities of the companies to make informed decisions regarding their future product launches, type up-gradation, market expansion, and marketing tactics.
  • The global small molecule drug discovery market report caters to various stakeholders in this industry including investors, suppliers, product manufacturers, distributors, new entrants, and financial analysts.
  • Stakeholders would have ease in decision-making through various strategy matrices used in analyzing the global small molecule drug discovery market.

Detailed Segmentation:

  • Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market, By Therapeutic Area:
    • Oncology
    • Central Nervous System
    • Cardiovascular
    • Respiratory
    • Metabolic Disorders
    • Gastrointestinal
    • Other Therapeutic Areas
  • Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market, By Process/Phase:
    • Target ID/Validation
    • Hit Generation and Selection
    • Lead Identification
    • Lead Optimization
  • Global Small Molecule Drug Discovery Market, By Geography:
    • North America
    • Europe
    • Asia-Pacific
    • South America
    • Middle East and Africa
  • Company Profiles:
    • Teva Pharmaceuticals
    • Merck KgaA
    • Johnson & Johnson
    • GlaxoSmithKline PLC
    • Gilead Sciences Inc.
    • AstraZeneca
    • Immunocure Inc.
    • Acacia Pharma Gr
    • 4SC AG
    • Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH
    • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
    • 21st Century Therapeutics Inc.
    • Novartis
    • Pfizer Inc.
    • Takeda Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Frequently Asked Questions

The global small molecule drug discovery market size is estimated to be valued at US$ 46,883.1 Million in 2022 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 8.1% between 2022 and 2028.
Increase in prevalence of chronic diseases and increase in research and development activities are fueling the growth of the market.
Oncology segment is the leading therapeutic area segment in the market.
Stringent rules and regulations and high cost of drug development are major factors restraining growth of the market.
Major players operating in the market are Pfizer Inc., Novartis, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Merck KgaA, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Gilead Sciences Inc., AstraZeneca, Immunocure Inc., Acacia Pharma Gr, 4SC AG, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, 21st Century Therapeutics Inc., and Takeda Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., among others.

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