Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the obesity drug market in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan will experience more than five-fold growth, rising from $478 million in 2006 to more than $2.7 billion in 2016. The market will grow most rapidly in the United States, where sales will increase from $222 million in 2006 to nearly $2 billion in 2016.
The new Pharmacor report entitled Obesity finds that the significant market growth will be driven by a number of emerging therapies, including Arena Pharmaceuticals' lorcaserin and Amylin Pharmaceuticals' pramlintide/leptin combination, which are both expected to launch in the world's major pharmaceutical markets by 2011. Lorcaserin, pramlintide/leptin and other emerging novel therapies will capture 80% of the total obesity market in 2016 as physicians switch from the few currently available therapies to new treatments with novel mechanisms of action.
The report also finds that increasing concern of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the long-term safety of drug treatments for chronic conditions such as obesity poses one of the most significant threats to companies developing anti-obesity drugs. For example, although Sanofi- Aventis's Acomplia (rimonabant) had been widely anticipated to become a key therapy for obesity, its blockbuster potential was eliminated after a negative opinion of the drug was issued by an FDA advisory panel last year. According to the report, similar safety concerns will plague Merck's taranabant and Pfizer's CP-945598, which belong to the same drug class as rimonabant.
"Given the high prevalence of obesity in the world's major pharmaceutical markets, the opportunity for agents that fulfill the need for safe, effective and well-tolerated weight-loss therapies is significant," said Donny Wong, Ph.D. principal analyst at Decision Resources. "Although the most efficacious emerging obesity drugs are combination therapies with multiple mechanisms of action, most of the late-stage therapies in development lack blockbuster potential because they are either associated with safety concerns or are available only in inconvenient injectable formulations."
The obesity epidemic is recognized as one of the most important public health challenges in the world. In 2006, the prevalent population of obese and overweight individuals in the world's major pharmaceutical markets surpassed 300 million. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that obesity-related illnesses will soon overtake smoking-related illnesses as the leading cause of mortality in the United States. The rising cost of treating obesity-related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease poses huge challenges to national healthcare systems worldwide.
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