BURLINGTON, Mass., Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that, owing to the launch of several novel agents, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug market will more than triple from approximately $2 billion in 2009 to nearly $7.5 billion in 2014 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. Thereafter, the market will substantially decrease to $4.6 billion in 2019 due to decreasing prevalence of the disease and the high efficacy of new treatment regimens.
The Pharmacor 2010 findings from the topic entitled Hepatitis C Virus reveal that the standard of care for the indication will change significantly with the introduction of new classes of HCV-specific antiviral agents, such as protease inhibitors and polymerase inhibitors. Compounds from these new classes will initially be added to the backbone of currently used agents, forming triple or quadruple treatment regimens that are expected to be more efficacious than the current standard of care -- peg-IFN/ribavirin.
"Although complete elimination of peg-IFNs and ribavirin agents is highly desirable owing to their side effects, this change is unlikely to occur over the next decade," said Decision Resources Analyst Alexandra Makarova, M.D., Ph.D. "However, decreased treatment durations resulting from the addition of new antivirals could increase the tolerability of treatment regimens. The launch of novel HCV-specific agents will increase the size of the drug-treated population, owing mainly to re-treatment of prior non-responders as well as increased referral and drug-treatment rates."
The current standard of care for HCV -- often a nearly year-long treatment -- cures only about half of patients and is associated with severe side effects. Although the incidence of HCV has declined dramatically after the introduction of prevention measures such as blood donor screening in the early 1990s, prevalence is still high due to the large cohort of aging HCV-infected patients, many of whom have failed prior treatment and are waiting for new therapeutic options.
The findings also reveal that, owing to the large commercial potential which is well-recognized by drug developers, the HCV pipeline remains highly competitive. Agents in late-stage development -- namely Vertex/Johnson & Johnson/Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma's telaprevir, Merck's boceprevir, Johnson & Johnson/Medivir's TMC-435, Roche/Pharmasset's RG-7128 and Pfizer's filibuvir -- are each expected to drive HCV market growth through 2019. Over the next several years, HCV treatment is expected to consist of cocktails of therapies that target HCV with different mechanisms of action.
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