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Report: Asthma sales and cases expected to flourish

By Mia Burns

The need for long-term maintenance therapy and continued growth of high prevalence rates, particularly among young children, will lead to the global asthma market reaching $21.6 billion by 2019, according to GBI Research. As a business intelligence provider, GBI Research has released a report stating that in 2013, the asthma market across the eight major countries was estimated at $16.6 billion. Company analysts say that this value will be boosted during the coming years by the growing number of people affected by the condition, which could reach 400 million by 2025.

By 2019, GBI Research analysts estimate that the United States will maintain its status as the major global market for asthma pharmaceuticals, with a share of $12.5 billion, followed by Japan and the United Kingdom at $3.2 billion and $2 billion. However, the asthma market will be hit by the growth of generic drug sales, as well as by both recent patent expirations and patents due to expire during the next couple of years. Also, there are various unknowns about the condition, which have created difficulties for pharma companies hoping to develop therapies targeted at specific molecular types or clinical symptoms of the disease.

“Firstly, some new therapies could be set to enter the asthma market,” says Yasser Mushtaq, GBI Research’s associate analyst. “This includes GlaxoSmithKline’s Relvar, which was recently approved in Japan for use in bronchial asthma and recommended for marketing authorization by the European Medicines Agency. In addition, a series of novel, costly monoclonal antibodies could be set to enter the asthma market from 2014 through 2016. These factors, to some degree, will help offset the impact of generic erosion. The prevalence of asthma will also contribute to market growth. Despite not rising at the levels observed in the 1980s and during the early 1990s, there continues to be evidence of rising asthma prevalence among western nations. It also remains the most common chronic disease among children and young adults. Combined, these factors will contribute to the forecast market growth.”

The asthma pipeline is becoming more innovative, according to GBI Research. “A greater understanding of the cellular and molecular biology underlying asthma has led researchers to believe that biologics targeting pro-inflammatory cytokines and other inflammatory mediators may be of therapeutic benefit in asthma,” Mushtaq told Med Ad News Daily. “Biologics offer a more targeted approach to asthma treatment, and this is reflected in the asthma therapeutic pipeline, 31 percent of which is made up of biologics. In particular, monoclonal antibodies seem to be generating a significant degree of interest. The most notable late-stage monoclonal antibodies include reslizumab, mepolizumab, and lebrikizumab, being developed by Teva, GlaxoSmithKline, and Roche respectively. Interestingly, these three monoclonal antibodies all target interleukins, which are thought to mediate pro-inflammatory functions. The first to get approved will be the first such therapy to be approved for the treatment of asthma, a clear example of innovation in the asthma pipeline.”

GBI Research analysts claim that monoclonal antibodies, in particular, have the potential to change the asthma treatment landscape, most notably with regards to severe forms of the disease. Although such therapy may only play the role of an alternative treatment in the asthma treatment algorithm, their ability to reduce exacerbation rates has strong clinical and commercial value. “Currently, for patients with chronic severe forms of the disease, poorly controlled by standard therapy such as inhaled corticosteroids or long acting beta2 agonists, there are few alternatives to help maintain asthma control,” Mushtaq told Med Ad News Daily. “Some monoclonal antibodies currently being developed, such as GSK’s mepolizumab, have shown promise in such patients. Therefore, if approved, a therapy such as mepolizumab will provide a useful alternative to patients who currently have limited options. This may only be relevant to a small proportion of asthma sufferers, but due to their tendency to suffer from symptom exacerbations resulting in hospitalization, they represent a significant burden upon healthcare services. This therefore places a high value on therapies proven to be effective in such patient populations.”

Posted: October 2013