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Survey: Ulcerative Colitis Drug Market Will Grow Over Next Decade

TNF-alpha inhibitors face competition from biosimilars

A report from Decision Resources Group, a health care research firm located in Burlington, Mass., finds that the ulcerative colitis (UC) drug market will grow over the next decade from $2.7 billion in 2013 to $4.2 billion in 2023 in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

Expanded use of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors for maintenance therapy and the uptake of emerging treatments as alternatives to anti-TNF agents will be the primary drivers of growth during this period, the report predicts. Sales of biologics will contribute approximately $2.3 billion to the UC market in 2023.

The report also forecasts that conventional therapies (i.e., aminosalicylates and corticosteroids) will remain entrenched as first-line treatments for most UC patients, followed by immunosuppressants and/or biologics as second- and third-line treatments.

Infliximab (Remicade, Janssen) will likely remain the preferred biologic for moderate- to-severe UC; however, the drug is expected to face competition from the subcutaneous TNF-alpha inhibitors adalimumab (Humira, AbbVie) and golimumab (Simponi, Janssen) as patients’ preference for these conveniently delivered agents grows.

“Entry of biosimilar TNF-alpha inhibitors at a discounted price to the branded version will constrain the UC market,” said analyst Adi Reske, PhD. “Competition between branded and biosimilar TNF-alpha inhibitors and payer pressure to use the biosimilars will likely contribute to notable erosion of TNF-alpha inhibitor brand sales.”

The uptake of the cell adhesion molecule inhibitor vedolizumab (Entyvio, Takeda), beginning in 2014, and the entry of the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz, Pfizer) in the second half of the forecast period will increase market sales, offering alternative lines of therapy to the TNF-alpha inhibitors, according to the report.

“Given the unmet need for efficacious therapies and additional pharmacological options for moderate-to-severe UC, emerging agents that offer novel mechanisms of action will be a welcome addition to the UC treatment algorithm; however, reimbursement restrictions imposed by third-party payers will continue to prevent greater penetration of high-priced biologics into the drug-treated UC population,” Reske commented.

Source: Decision Resources; November 12, 2014.

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