Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the drug market to treat the hepatitis C virus will experience dramatic growth through 2011 as the launch of several novel therapies, beginning in 2009, significantly alters the standard of care. However, the market will contract after 2011 as the treatment-eligible pool of hepatitis C virus-infected patients declines in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
The new Pharmacor report Emerging Hepatitis C Virus Therapies finds that the most highly anticipated drugs in development are the hepatitis C virus- specific protease and polymerase inhibitors. The uptake of protease inhibitors, such as Vertex/Johnson & Johnson/Mitsubishi's Telaprevir, Schering-Plough's Boceprevir, and InterMune/Roche's ITMN-191, will be driven by their impressive efficacy rates, safety, and oral formulation. Furthermore, leading gastroenterologists and hepatologists believe that polymerase inhibitors such as Idenix/Novartis's valopicitabine, Wyeth/ViroPharma's HCV 796, Roche's R1626, Abbott's A-837093, and Merck's MK 0608 will also drive significant growth in the market to treat the hepatitis C virus.
"Physicians and thought leaders expect that the novel protease and polymerase inhibitors will be used in combination with long-acting interferon- alpha such as Roche's Pegasys, Schering-Plough's Peg-Intron, and Novartis/Human Genome Sciences' Albuferon-alpha," said Aaron Woolsey, Ph.D., analyst at Decision Resources, Inc. "As a result, the introduction of novel second- and third-line therapies will invigorate sales of long-acting interferon-alpha agents and contribute to overall market growth. Paradoxically, because we project that hepatitis C virus incidence will not keep pace with mortality and treatment-cure rates after 2016, the improved efficacy of novel therapies will improve cure rates, resulting in a decline in the number of treatment-eligible patients."
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