Robust Drug Pipeline Underpins Demand for Multiple Sclerosis Therapeutics
Multiple sclerosis (MS) has been among the leading neurological conditions causing disabilities. The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation states that the disease affected nearly 2.5 million people in 2017, with an annual global incidence rate of 7 per 1,00,000. Rising disease prevalence and ascending economic burden of MS on health systems demand novel multiple sclerosis therapeutics. The direct and indirect costs associated with MS treatment remain a major challenge to rapid expansion of multiple sclerosis therapeutics market. The rate of adoption will, however, experience a spike as the number of patients suffering from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) and relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is increasing. A strong pipeline of MS drugs that are soon to be commercialized is also responsible for driving the global multiple sclerosis therapeutics market. Public education and awareness about MS and the associated symptoms will play an important role in the market build-up.
Drug Manufacturers Receive a Push from Unmet Needs in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Therapeutics Market
High unmet needs in progressive MS landscape complement the surging demand for rapid-acting efficient MS drugs. Both are expected to collectively encourage drug manufacturers to enhance their existing product portfolios. For instance, Biogen Idec recently launched Plegridy, a long-acting PEGylated version of its interferon Avonex. The multiple sclerosis therapeutics market provides a significant upside potential to marketers looking to tap unmet needs such as improved safety, simplified dosing, and favourable drug tolerability. Increasing prevalence of MS and growing expenditure of companies on R&D activities would further fuel the growth of MS therapeutics market.
There are several promising drug assets in pipeline with a diverse range of mechanisms intended to seek approval for the treatment of progressive MS, which currently represents a significant unmet need. However, brand erosion due to the entry of biosimilars and generic molecules, coupled with high treatment cost, would be detrimental to market growth. MS treatments are expensive. For instance, MS DMTs costs exceed ~US$ 50,000 per patient per year. Blue Cross/Blue Shield stated in the US, the average annual MS drug costs US$28,152, while all other health costs are US$13,608.
RRMS Captures a Whopping 85% of Total Number of Multiple Sclerosis Cases
Relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is most common form of multiple sclerosis, roughly representing 85% of the total MS cases. It involves episodes of new or increasing symptoms, followed by periods of remission. As suggested by a 2013 study of International Progressive Alliance, women are 2X-3X more vulnerable to RRMS than men due to hormonal conditions. RRMS follows a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) - a single, first-ever episode, with symptoms lasting for at least 24 hours. Furthermore, approximately 50% of patients develop a secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) pattern within 10 years of the disease onset. This may or may not include relapses. Around 10% develop primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), whereas less than 5% tend to develop progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS).
DMTs Account for Fragmentation of Multiple Sclerosis Therapeutics Market
Most of the disease modifying therapies (DMTs) are targeted towards RRMS and SPMS. While treatment options in the MS therapeutics market are expanding, the preference has shifted to oral therapies from traditional injectable therapies. Oral drug dominance started with the launch of Gilenya in 2011 and further consolidated in 2013 with the launch of Tecfidera, the current market leader. However, self-injectable medications continue to make up for the largest category of DMTs in multiple sclerosis therapeutics market. Convenience is the single most important factor behind the prolific growth rate of oral medications.
Meanwhile, infusion therapies continue to see a steady growth trajectory. Monoclonal antibody infusion therapy - Lemtrada received approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in September 2013 and from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later in November 2014. The potential growth is limited as intravenous infusions have an increased risk of infections. Currently, Ocrevus (Ocrelizumab) is the only FDA-approved medication for PPMS. Next-generation compounds, viz. Kesimpta (Novartis International AG), Zeposia (Bristol Myers Squibb) will only intensify competition in the saturated relapsing MS therapeutics market. Tolebrutinib (Sanofi Genzyme) and Fenebrutinib (Roche Holding AG) are in the development Phase III for progressive forms of MS. Moreover, the looming threat of the entry of oral generics will affect reimbursement and market access in the US, and some of the European countries.
Deep Pocket Players to Dominate Multiple Sclerosis Market with Novel Drug Entities
Biogen Inc.’s Tecfidera remains the top selling prescription medicine for MS, followed by Gilenya of Novartis International AG, and the relatively new Ocrevus by Roche Holding AG’s Ocrevus. Of these, Ocrevus has a promising future as some of the other blockbuster drugs will be losing market exclusivity during the next few years. Some of the other prominent prescribed drugs in the multiple sclerosis therapeutics market include Copaxone (Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.), Tysabri and Avonex (Biogen Inc.), Aubagio and Lemtrada (Sanofi S.A.), Rebif (Merck KGaA), and Betaferon (Bayer AG).
Please Note: The above mentioned segmentation/companies/countries are likely to differ in the actual report as they are based on preliminary research.
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