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Alzheimer’s Drug Market Predicted to Triple, Reaching Nearly $12 Billion, by 2023

Blockbuster status awaits novel disease-modifying therapies

Decision Resources Group, a health care research firm located in Burlington, Mass., finds that the market for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) therapies will more than triple, reaching nearly $12 billion, by 2023, largely because of the expected launch of the first disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) — a landmark event in AD treatment.

In 2023, these novel premium-priced agents — which include the anti–beta-amyloid monoclonal antibodies solanezumab (Eli Lilly) and gantenerumab (Roche), as well as the BACE inhibitor MK-8931 (Roche) — are predicted to earn sales of $7 billion in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

“The projected launch of Eli Lilly’s solanezumab, potentially the first-ever DMT approved for the treatment of AD, will be a transformative event affecting the AD market as early as 2018,” said analyst Alana Simorellis, PhD.

Interviewed experts noted that new symptomatic options are sorely needed. Lu-AE58054 (Lundbeck/Otsuka), a novel 5HT-6 receptor antagonist, could partially address this need beginning in 2017. Lu-AE58054 will launch as an adjunctive symptomatic treatment for AD and will achieve blockbuster sales within the forecast period, capturing nearly 10% of major-market sales in 2023, according to the new report.

The surging prevalence of AD as the population ages will drive growth across the major markets, the report finds. In addition, diagnosis and drug-treatment rates are expected to increase modestly in pre-AD and mild-AD patients as DMTs and new diagnostic technologies gradually gain acceptance.

“Commensurate with ongoing development and the views of experts in the field, we expect that future DMTs will most likely see the greatest uptake in the pre-AD and mild-AD populations,” Simorellis said.

Although current clinical mainstays deliver modest symptomatic efficacy and do not affect disease progression, they will remain the foundation of treatment throughout the forecast period, aided in part by growing generic availability, the report notes. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are expected to continue to capture more than a 70% patient share (across all AD subpopulations) in 2023, whereas NMDA receptor antagonist products, including Namenda/Namenda XR (Forest), will continue to have a patient share of about 35%.

“While AD drug development is understandably focused on disease modification, there exists an important area of additional unmet need for safer, more-effective symptomatic therapies that can control the behavior disturbances associated with later-stage AD. Development in this arena is underway, with clinical trials assessing promising agents like Lundbeck/Otsuka’s brexpiprazole for AD-associated agitation,” Simorellis said.

Source: Decision Resources Group; July 21, 2014.

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