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The demand in the pharmaceutical field is strong, how should the cytosine market make progress?

Echemi 2021-06-11

Cytosine (4-amino-2-hydroxypyrimidine), also known as cytokine and cytosine, is one of the pyrimidine-type bases in nucleic acids, and it exists in the DNA and RNA of organisms. Cytosine has a very wide range of applications in the fields of medicine, pesticides and fine chemicals.


The medical field is mainly used in the preparation of anti-AIDS drugs (lamivudine), hepatitis B drugs, antifungal drugs (5-fluorocytosine) and antitumor drugs (gemcitabine, enoxabine). In addition, the derivatives of cytosine as starting materials, cytosine nucleoside and cytosine nucleotide, are also drugs that can be used to increase white blood cells. They are intermediates for the synthesis of citicoline sodium, a drug for the treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. An important raw material for a variety of antiviral and antitumor drugs.


In recent decades, pyrimidine nucleoside antiviral drugs have developed rapidly. There are countless compounds with certain antiviral activity that use cytosine as an intermediate. The market demand for cytosine as a pharmaceutical intermediate is increasing.


China is one of the world's largest API producers. After decades of development, a relatively complete industrial system has been formed. In recent years, the variety and quantity of patented medicines whose patents have expired has increased sharply, and the variety and quantity of generic medicines have risen accordingly, ushering in huge market opportunities for APIs. Driven by downstream chemical raw materials and chemical pharmaceutical preparations, the upstream pharmaceutical intermediate industry is showing a strong trend.


In the field of pesticides, it is mainly used to synthesize cytosine nucleoside peptides with high-efficiency and low-toxicity broad-spectrum pesticide antibiotics.


There are many synthetic process routes for cytosine, which are mainly divided into functional group conversion method and Pinner synthesis method. At present, domestic production enterprises mainly use Pinner synthesis method. The Pinner synthesis method mainly uses 3-ethoxyacrylonitrile (EA) and 3,3-diethoxypropionitrile (DP) as raw materials to synthesize cytosine. Its synthesis methods include amide dehydration method, sodium cyanide method, isooxan The azole method and acetonitrile high pressure method, etc. Acetonitrile high-pressure method and amide dehydration method are the main domestic production methods. The main raw materials include urea, ethyl formate, acetonitrile, carbon monoxide, sodium alkoxide, etc.

Driven by the demand for anti-AIDS drugs, my country's cytosine supply will continue to grow


In recent years, pyrimidine nucleoside antiviral drugs have developed rapidly, and the demand for cytosine has shown an increasing trend with the continuous development and application of downstream products. China is the world's largest producer and exporter of cytosine, with an average annual export volume accounting for more than 40% of production, reaching 56% in 2019.


my country imports less cytosine, 2 tons in 2016, and less than 1 ton in other years. The export volume has been increasing year by year. From 2015 to 2019, the average annual growth rate reached 19.1%. Affected by the domestic market, export unit prices have increased significantly in 2018-2019.


With the increase in demand for cytosine in domestic and foreign markets, my country's cytosine production capacity and output have generally shown a year-on-year growth trend. The production capacity has increased to 3,800 tons in 2019, and the industry's operating rate has remained at the level of 65%-75%. Reno Pharmaceuticals will add 1,200 tons of cytosine production capacity in 2020 and is currently the largest cytosine manufacturer.


The future demand for cytosine is mainly driven by downstream anti-AIDS drugs. According to forecasts, the demand for cytosine for anti-AIDS drugs will continue to increase slightly as the number of AIDS cases worldwide increases. Affected by the number of AIDS patients and combined with data from the "China Health Statistics Yearbook" released by the National Health Commission, it is expected that China's cytosine production capacity will continue to grow in the future.


Improve quality and efficiency, both in the international and domestic markets


The development of my country's intermediate industry has entered a new stage. As an important branch of fine chemicals, the intermediate industry continues to develop rapidly under the background of industrial transfer and increasing domestic demand. At present, the trend of world population growth and population aging is becoming more and more obvious, and the pharmaceutical industry has huge market potential. Cytosine is an important raw material for antiviral drugs, anti-AIDS drugs and chronic hepatitis B virus drugs. Among them, the anti-AIDS drug lamivudine combined with TDF cocktail therapy has better curative effect. Cytosine will still maintain a high market demand in the future, and there is a lot of room for development.


Taken together, the future cytosine industry should focus on the following four aspects:

(1) Extend the industrial chain. Manufacturers can extend the industrial chain downward to produce raw materials such as lamivudine and emtricitabine. The extension of the industrial chain and the integrated layout will effectively enhance the competitiveness of enterprises. In the pharmaceutical industry chain, the sales profit margins of pharmaceutical intermediates, raw materials, and pharmaceutical preparations are gradually increasing. Extending the industrial chain to the downstream is an effective way to increase the profits of intermediate companies.

(2) Improve the level of enterprise safety production management, avoid work stoppage due to safety accidents, and effectively guarantee the normal production and operation of the enterprise.

(3) Intensify research efforts. Through technological transformation and scientific research, the production cost of cytosine will be reduced, and the product yield and product quality will be improved.

(4) Do a good job in both domestic and international markets. my country's average annual export volume of cytosine is large, and the export volume in 2019 has reached more than 50% of the output. In addition to the domestic market, companies need to pay attention to and actively explore the international market to further increase their global market share.

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