But these medicines are mature and relatively old in drug-years. So what about the next generation and where are the innovations likely to come from?
According to professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, the next decade will see biologically derived therapies – or ‘biologics’ – dominate the treatment landscape.
In 2013, eight of the top ten selling drugs worldwide were biologics products manufactured in a living system such as a microorganism, plant or animal cell.
Most biologics – including the top sellers, Humira, Enbrel and Remicade – are very large, complex molecules produced using recombinant DNA technology.