Since it became clear that monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins will revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry, the interests of small, medium and large pharmaceutical companies in personalised medicine has grown rapidly. Biologics are set to dominate oncology and auto-immune diseases, but when will biologic drugs begin to take control over the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)?

Figure 1 shows the number of drug candidates in each phase of the drug development cycle for HIV. Although we have not heard of major biologic breakthroughs in the treatment and prevention of HIV, the biologics industry looks promising, with an increasing number of therapies in research climbing the pipeline, displaying an alternative mechanism to finally treat the disease.

Figure 1: The number of drugs in each phase of the drug development cycle, split by molecule type

Source: GlobalData, Pharma Intelligence Center, Drugs Database [Accessed 21 December 2017]

However, innovation comes at a cost. Although the number of HIV/AIDS infected people is lower compared to other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, the prices of breakthrough biologics will surely be elevated with a market empty from competitors. The concerns of payers will rise and they will need to create new payment models and increase the budget available in healthcare plans to treat the immuno-virus and ensure patients have access to new treatments.