Over the past decade, the antipsychotic drug market has been revolutionized by the introduction of novel atypical agents. However, because current and emerging antipsychotics address only some of the unmet needs in the treatment of psychotic illness, there is considerable opportunity for development of improved agents, according to analysts at Decision Resources.

  (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000303/DECISION )   Major Opportunity for the Development of Improved Antipsychotics 

A forthcoming Decision Resources study, Overview of Antipsychotics, finds that most thought-leading physicians believe that optimal treatment of psychotic illness will require the use of multiple drugs, or a single drug that attacks multiple targets, due to the heterogeneity of clinical presentation and complexity of the underlying pathophysiology of psychotic disorders. Marketed and existing late-stage antipsychotics are unlikely to provide significant advances; the most significant opportunities for drug development arise from the following areas of unmet need:

The Need for More-Effective Antipsychotics

There is a major need for antipsychotic therapies that more effectively relieve the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Also, 20-30% of patients remain refractory to currently available drugs. Clozapine (Novartis's Clozaril/Leponex) is effective in some treatment-refractory patients but is the antipsychotic of last resort because it carries a risk of agranulocytosis

The Need for More-Tolerable Antipsychotics

Despite their superior tolerability, atypical antipsychotics cause significant side effects. Ziprasidone (Pfizer's Geodon/Zeldox) offers a marked improvement in tolerability because it causes less weight gain than other antipsychotic agents, but the drug's potential to cause cardiac complications remains a concern. Likewise, other agents in the pipeline seem unlikely to offer dramatic improvements in tolerability.

The Need for Improved Therapy of Comorbid Depression and Anxiety

Psychotic patients-particularly those with bipolar disorder (BPD) or schizoaffective disorder-would benefit from antipsychotic drugs that incorporate anxiolytic or antidepressant effects. Eli Lilly is developing a fixed-dose combination of olanzapine and the antidepressant drug fluoxetine (Prozac) for treatment-resistant depression and depression with psychotic features. However, based upon physician interviews, it seems unlikely that this drug will garner significant sales for either schizophrenia or BPD.

The Need for Improved Therapy for Cognitive Dysfunction

Novel adjunctive agents that employ new mechanisms of action, such as Cortex's glutamate modulator Ampalex, may demonstrate effectiveness against cognitive impairment, but thus far none has been rigorously tested for this effect.

Overview of Antipsychotics offers invaluable market intelligence for pharmaceutical companies competing in this market. This study is part of Cognos, one of six Pharmacor services from Decision Resources 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 http://www.dresources.com/.

Contact: Frank Sama, 781.296.2553 (telephone), 781.296.2550 (fax), or sama@dresources.com.

In Europe, contact Francoise Bidart, +32.2.351.4082 (telephone), +32.2.351.2347 (fax), or fbidart@decisionresources.be.

In Japan, contact Makiko Yoshimoto, +81.3.5401.2615 (telephone), +81.3.5401.2617 (fax), or makiko@bl.mmtr.or.jp.

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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

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

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