Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disorder characterized by progressive airflow obstruction due to emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis, is the subject of a forthcoming study from Decision Resources, Inc. COPD is a major medical problem throughout the world, affecting 4-6% of people older than age 45. Both the prevalence of and mortality from COPD is increasing, even in industrialized countries. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, COPD will be the third most common cause of death worldwide. We estimate that in 1999, there were more than 35 million COPD sufferers in the seven major pharmaceutical markets (United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and Japan); this figure should exceed 38 million by 2009.
The percentage of patients who successfully quit smoking (smoking is a leading COPD risk factor) is abysmally low. Furthermore, no currently available therapies can permanently reverse-or even significantly slow-the progressive loss of lung function associated with COPD; thus, current treatment regimens are essentially palliative. Poor patient outcomes leave considerable unmet needs related to this condition, including the following:
* Better antismoking treatments. * New agents capable of halting lung deterioration and reversing previous damage. While many innovative approaches to treatment are being explored, some with the potential for possibly stopping-although probably not reversing-declining lung function, the majority of these agents are in the early stages of development, leaving ample opportunity for companies developing/marketing therapies within existing drug classes. * Agents that reduce airway inflammation, because the inflammatory process in COPD is largely steroid-resistant. * Improved mucoregulating agents-drugs that either enhance mucus clearance or reduce mucus. Currently available mucolytics, including costly recombinant deoxyribonuclease (Dnase), are, at best, minimally effective. The market potential for such agents could be considerable. * Drugs capable of providing enhanced bronchodilation in a greater proportion of patients. * Surrogate markers such as analysis of sputum parameters that might predict the clinical usefulness of new agents. * Fewer and less expensive drugs-current combination products (e.g., the ipratropium and short-acting beta2 agonist albuterol combination found in Boehringer Ingelheim's Combivent) and dosages (e.g., the ipratropium component) cost less than two separate inhalers but often prove ineffective. * New nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with improved side-effect profiles.
Of the agents in development for this indication, the most promising are a long-acting anticholinergic (Boehringer Ingelheim's Spiriva), the first in a class of beta2/dopamine D2 agonists (AstraZeneca's Viozan), a new theophylline-like agent (SmithKline Beecham's Ariflo), and possibly the first effective mucoregulating agent for COPD (Milkhaus Laboratory's HP 3). All in Phase II development or later, these agents should contribute to a growth in the market for COPD drug therapies-from nearly $1.8 billion in the major pharmaceutical markets combined in 1999 to an estimated $2.6 billion in 2009.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is part of Mosaic, one of six Pharmacor services that evaluate the commercial potential of drugs in research and development.
Decision Resources, Inc., is a world leader in pharmaceutical research publications, advisory services, and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources, and master their chosen markets. Founded as a subsidiary of Arthur D. Little, Inc., the company has provided strategic information services for 30 years.
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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.
Contact: Frank Sama of Decision Resources, Inc., 781-487-3753,