Women's Health Therapeutics

The biggest battle is for the estrogen replacement customer, because only 15 to 20 percent of menopausal women -- 7.4 million out of 26.2 million -- currently take hormones. "Even without the population growing, it's a big market," said Audrey Ashby, a spokeswoman for Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, which manufactures Premarin.

The market is a potential bonanza if advertisers can sell the drugs' ability to stave off osteoporosis and heart disease. But some women are concerned over conflicting reports that hormone replacement may have side effects including an increased risk of breast cancer.

In 2010, the women's health therapeutics market was estimated to be worth $14,530m. GBI Research forecasts the market to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.9% between 2010 and 2017 to record a sales value of $24.6 billion in 2017.

The market has considerable unmet need, as the majority of the diseases in the market are served by hormonal therapeutics. Hormones have been shown to be associated with significant safety issues suchas risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Hence, the use of hormones has declined and women are worried about resuming hormonal therapy for the treatment of the menopause/osteoporosis.

There is an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs with greater safety profiles and more competitive prices.

The women's health therapeutics market R&D pipeline is moderately strong, with the majority of first-in-class drugs in late stages of development.

These drugs are expected to drive market revenues and it is expected that, if they are approved and are shown to have better safety profiles, patients will complywith novel therapies. In particular, non-hormones are set to take over the conventional hormone therapeutics market.