Many large investors allocate huge funds for biotechnological developments. Even before the pandemic, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and others had been investing in bio-startups for several years. After the appearance of COVID-19, interest in the pharmaceutical industry increased several times.

An increase in life expectancy is a global trend. Over the past 20 years, life expectancy in Russia has increased from 65.5 years in 2000 to 71 years in 2020. Longevity is influenced by many factors, in particular, improving the quality of life, the development of technology and medicine, the growth of well-being, as well as other factors. Life expectancy is also growing in parallel with global GDP.

The science that studies aging is called gerontology, it has 4 different directions, among which:

geriatrics is the study of diseases associated with involutional changes, as well as features of the treatment and prevention of diseases in the elderly and senile age;

biogerontology — studies the biological processes of aging as such. Some biogerontologists believe that old age itself should be treated as a disease and treated accordingly.

The objectives of these areas are to study the effect of various medications on certain body functions in different age groups. Thanks to gerontology and the development of medicine, there has been an increase in the retirement age around the world.

In fact, this is a direct consequence of the fact that the world's population has aged: already in Japan, ⅓ of the population is over 65 years old, and in China, by 2035, one pensioner will account for every second taxpayer. After 2030, there will be a sharp shortage of labor, and by 2050 there will be 487 million elderly Chinese - almost 35% of the population.

According to the forecasts of the World Health Organization, by 2050 the number of people over 60 in the world will double to 2 billion. This will be an incentive for the growth of the medical sector. It will also be affected by delayed demand due to the pandemic - during the epidemic, many people postponed non—urgent, planned operations and treatment of "ordinary" diseases for post-ovarian times.

Technological progress has become the main factor for the development of biotechnologies: artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and capacities that can process the entire array of information. Many rich people try to deceive nature and allocate huge funds for biotechnological developments. Even before the pandemic, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, Peter Thiel, Michael Bloomberg had been investing in bio-startups for several years.

Investment and venture capital funds, among others, have entered the race for additional years of life and profits that this sector brings. Then they were joined by IT giants - Samsung, Google, Siemens, Blackstone, ARK Genomic Revolution and others.

The pandemic has only increased interest in this industry, and the years 2020-2021 have become a boom in the IPO market, including at the expense of biopharma. In 2019-2020, 76 companies from the biotech sector went public and raised $12.7 billion. For 9 months of 2021 — 81 more biotech IPOs and $12.2 billion of funds raised.

According to statistics for 2020, more than 40 companies have annual sales exceeding $3 billion. Among them are the giants: AbbVie, Merck, Bristol Myers, Pfizer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, Roche, Eli Lilly and others. The main areas of their work are arthritis, cancer, HIV, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, diabetes, sclerosis.

Some companies sell billions of dollars annually, while others cannot even get close to the sales leaders due to the availability of patents for drugs and the necessary technologies. Among the leading drugs in sales, the following stand out:

Humira (adalimumab) produced by AbbVie. A drug for the treatment of rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis. Sales for the year amounted to $19.83 billion. About ⅔ of drug sales are in the USA. In the USA, AbbVie has patent protection until September 29, 2023. After the expiration of the patent for Humira on October 16, 2018, the launch of the first biosimilars — drugs similar to generics - began in Europe. AbbVie immediately launched lawsuits against them in order to maintain a certain monopoly at least for a while. After the patent expired in Russia, AbbVie removed one component and received a new patent for the updated Humira until November 11, 2031.

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) produced by Merck. A drug for the treatment of various types of cancer. Sales for the year amounted to $14.38 billion. To preserve patents, Merck develops new medicines and adds Keytruda to the composition, thereby extending its old patents in new medicines. The main patent ends in 2028. According to analysts' forecasts, this particular drug may become a leader after 2023, and in 2026 global sales of Keytruda may reach $24.32 billion.

Eliquis (apixaban) is co-produced by Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer. The drug dilutes blood clots, fights cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Sales for the year amounted to $14.12 billion. The companies were able to block the sale of cheaper analogues through the court until the patent ends in the United States in 2026. The main patents expire from 2027 to 2029, but some components are copyrighted until 2031. As for Pfizer, the company is expected to face its own patent crisis in 2026 for several of its strongest revenue sources, including Eliquis, Xtandi and the best-selling pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar 13.

Revlimid (lenalidomide) produced by Bristol Myers Squibb. The drug is used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome, multiple myeloma and lymphoma. Sales for the year amounted to $12.11 billion. The expiration of the main patents is from 2025 to 2026. The drug was first approved in 2005 and was sold at a price of $215 per tablet, today the cost of the pill has increased to more than $750.

Eylea (aflibercept) is a joint production of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Bayer. It is used in the treatment of eye diseases, age-related macular degeneration, macular edema and diabetic retinopathy. Sales for the year amounted to $10.72 billion. Bayer has an exclusive for sales in Europe until May 23, 2025. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has three patents in the United States, which expire between March 2026 and June 2027, as well as a patent in Europe, valid until June 2027. The drug still has imitators from Sandoz, Amgen, Samsung Bioepis, Roche and many others.

Imbruvica (ibrutinib) is a co-production of AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson. It is used in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, small lymphocytic lymphoma, Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, blood cancer. Sales for the year amounted to $9.44 billion. Imbruvica is one of the best blood cancer drugs in the world, but an annual course of taking the drug costs about $ 148 thousand. At the end of 2020, BeiGene showed a drug against Brukinsa lymphoma, which completely kills cancer in 24% of patients in a year, while Imbruvica's effectiveness is only 5%. But AbbVie, as in the case of Humira, has created a number of similar patents. Of the 257, 130 patent applications were granted, resulting in a potential 39 years of exclusive right to the drug.

Dupixent (dupilumab) is a joint production of Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. It is used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, eczema, asthma, chronic rhinosinitis with nasal polyps. Sales for the year amounted to $8.07 billion. After a massive attack by advertising on television, sales of the drug skyrocketed. Initially, analysts predicted sales of 4 billion by mid-2022, but in fact companies sell 2 times more. Now analysts predict sales growth to $10 billion by 2026. Patents expire in 2033-2034.

Stelara (ustekinumab) produced by Johnson & Johnson. It is used in the treatment of plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and Crohn's disease. Sales for the year amounted to $7.71 billion. The main patent expires in 2023, but Moody's analysts believe that potential analogues will be able to enter the market only in 2025-2026. The generic is being created in South Korea by Celltrion, and the drug should appear on the market in late 2023, early 2024.

Biktarvy (bictegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide) produced by Gilead Sciences. It is used in the fight against HIV. With the advent of Biktarvy on the market in 2018, sales began to grow actively, in the period from 2019 to 2020, sales increased by 53%. So the medicine rose from 17th to 9th place in the list of the best-selling. The sales forecast is 11.4 billion by 2026. The end of the main patents is 2032-2035.