Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that market to treat hepatitis C virus will grow by nearly five-fold during the next decade, increasing from approximately $2 billion in 2007 to more than $10 billion in 2017 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Japan. The new Pharmacor report entitled Hepatitis C Virus finds that, as drug makers have recognized the high unmet need and significant commercial potential that exists, the hepatitis C virus market has been one of the most active areas of infectious disease drug development in recent years.
According to the report, market growth over the next decade will be driven by the introduction of novel agents in the protease inhibitors and polymerase inhibitors drug classes that specifically target the hepatitis C virus. Among the range of products in clinical development, the most promising agents in these classes include Vertex/Johnson & Johnson/Mitsubishi Tanabe's telaprevir, Schering-Plough's boceprevir, Roche's R-1626, Roche/Pharmasset's R-7128, Roche/InterMune's ITMN-191, Tibotec's (Johnson & Johnson) TMC-435350, and Pfizer's PF-868554. Currently available clinical data suggests that all of these orally administered agents have the potential to significantly improve the efficacy of treatment, achieving higher sustained virologic response than current treatment, particularly in difficult-to-treat genotype 1 patients.
The hepatitis C virus market has been dominated by Roche and Schering-Plough, and both companies market pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin agents. These two companies have competed intensely in this market and have attempted to differentiate their pegylated interferon products, with Roche gaining an edge in market share. Through internal development and collaboration, Roche and Schering-Plough have developed next generation products that will allow them to remain key players in the hepatitis C virus market through 2017.
"Hepatitis C virus, which represents a large and relatively under-tapped market, has a complex epidemiology and is characterized by a large and aging chronically infected patient population which, over the next decade, is projected to increasingly present with late-stage complications of the infection, such as cirrhosis," said John Lebbos, M.D., director at Decision Resources. "Since current treatment with pegylated interferon-alpha agents and ribavirin achieves cure in less than half of patients and is associated with significant side effects, substantial opportunity exists for drug developers that can deliver safer and more effective therapies."
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