Asthma is a new Decision Resources study that examines novel drug development efforts arising from a wealth of research into the pathophysiology of asthma. The therapeutic pipeline includes compounds that aim at several novel therapeutic targets, such as anticytokine agents, anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) monoclonal antibodies, cell adhesion molecule inhibitors, chemokine antagonists, and neurokinin antagonists. Other agents aim to improve upon currently available drugs. These efforts, combined with steadily increasing asthma prevalence, will create opportunities for all competitors in the asthma market.

 (Photo:    The Therapeutic Pipeline-Compounds Aim at Novel Targets 

We expect that omalizumab (Genentech/Roche and Tanox Biosystems/Novartis's Xolair), the first in a new class of monoclonal antibodies targeting immunoglobulin E (IgE), will make the largest impact on the asthma market. Clinical trials have demonstrated that Xolair reduces the number of asthma exacerbations by 50%, improves quality-of-life scores and symptoms, and reduces the need for corticosteroids. Many experts appear very optimistic about its potential for treating allergic asthma and other IgE-mediated diseases, such as allergic rhinitis.

GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca Will Go Head-to-Head with Combination Agents

We forecast that long-acting beta2 agonist/corticosteroid combination agents, such as GlaxoSmithKline's Advair/Seretide and AstraZeneca's Symbicort, will wrest away market share from the single-agent inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta2 agonists. Both combination agents are more effective than corticosteroids alone and offer more-convenient treatment regimens, which may improve patient compliance. Thought leaders interviewed believe that Seretide and Symbicort will eventually compete head to head, as the latter gains ground because of its faster onset of action.

A New Player in the Corticosteroid Market

Some experts suggest that Schering-Plough's mometasone furoate is the most promising new corticosteroid in development citing its once-daily inhaled administration and superior safety profile. Schering-Plough's experience in marketing this drug for allergic rhinitis may be particularly beneficial for the agent's gaining a foothold in the asthma market, given the significant comorbidity of the two diseases.

Asthma offers invaluable strategic intelligence for companies competing in this market. This study is part of the Immune and Inflammatory Disorders portfolio, 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. Visit the Decision Resources Web site at

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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

Contact: Frank Sama of Decision Resources, Inc., +1-781-296-2553,