The Market

The Antifungal Market

The antifungal drugs fall into four different categories: (1) azoles, (2) echinocandins, (3) polyenes, and (4) pyrimidines.

The first antifungal antibiotic was cycloheximide (1936) but griseofulvin (1949) was the first commercially significant antifungal drug developed to treat ringworm infections of the skin and nails. Nystatin, the first member of the group of polyene macrolides was discovered in 1950 and since then more than 90 different members of this group have been described including Amphotericin B, which was marketed in 1957 to treat a wide spectrum of fungal infections. These early antifungal agents are natural products, extracted from microorganisms. Subsequently the azoles and the allylamines were developed from synthetic chemistry programs. The allylamines are one of the newest classes of compounds represented by naftifine and terbinafine andare used against onychomycoses (toe nail infection). The other newer antifungal treatments are the echinocandins, represented by Micafungin, originally a natural product but chemically modified for intravenous administration to treat Candida infections.


Azoles are systemically acting and they include fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole and voriconazole.


The echinocandins are lipopeptides derived from natural fungal fermentation products. They include anidulafungin, caspofungin and micafungin.


Polyenes are systemically acting and disrupts eukaryotic cellular membranes. Drugs include amphotericin B deoxycholate and liposomal amphotericin B. Corifungin is a new member of this class.
According to, in its new report, ANTIFUNGAL DRUGS: TECHNOLOGIES AND GLOBAL MARKETS, the global market for human antifungal therapeutics is expected to grow to nearly $13.9 billion by 2018, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2%. The over-the-counter (OTC) segment is growing at a steady 3.8% CAGR.

Given the current world economic situation, which is often presenting lower sales, coupled with the incidence of increasing mortality and the severity of fungal infection, there is a need for effective products that are cost-effective and innovative.

In non-U.S. and –European countries, the total sales of all human antifungal products reached $11.8 billion in 2013 and are anticipated to reach $13.8 billion in 2018. It is expected that the OTC/alternative portion of the global antifungal market will continue to grow. OTC sales reached $5.4 billion in 2013 and are forecast to grow to $6.5 billion in 2018. “Increased use of antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs such as corticosteroids are major factors contributing to higher frequency of fungal infections,” says BCC Research pharmaceutical analyst Mary Anne Crandall. “By disrupting normal bacterial colonization and suppressing the immune system, antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs create an environment within the body in which fungi can thrive.”

ANTIFUNGAL DRUGS: TECHNOLOGIES AND GLOBAL MARKETS provides an overview of the global human antifungal market and assesses its growth potential over the five-year period from 2013 to 2018. It also covers approved human therapeutics, with a heavy focus on therapeutics in early development.