Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that although generic erosion will negatively impact the major depression drug market in the United States, patent protection of key blockbuster agents will help drive market growth in Europe and Japan through 2018.

The new Pharmacor report entitled Major Depressive Disorder finds that sales of therapies for major depression in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan will increase by $500 million from 2008 to 2018. This growth will be attributable to increasing diagnosis and drug treatments rates in these countries and the patent protection of key agents that include Lundbeck/Forest's Lexapro and Eli Lilly/Boehringer Ingelheim's Cymbalta/Xeristar. However, in contrast, the U.S. market will decrease by $1.4 billion from 2008 to 2018, owing primarily to widespread generic erosion of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Lexapro and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Wyeth's Effexor XR.

The report also finds that the atypical antipsychotics drug class, driven by sales of key agents such as Bristol-Myers Squibb/Otsuka Pharmaceutical's Abilify and AstraZeneca's Seroquel/Seroquel XR, will reach peak-year sales of just under $1.5 billion in 2013 in the major depression market. While patient share for atypical antipsychotics will continue to grow after 2013, generic erosion will constrain overall sales of these agents through 2018.

Emerging agents such as Servier/Novartis's Valdoxan/Thymonax, Lundbeck/Takeda's Lu-AA21004, Eli Lilly's LY-2216684, Clinical Data's vilazodone and Labopharm/Angelini Group's trazodone CR will be used predominately as second- and third-line therapies for major depression, according to the report. As a result, these agents will gain a combined patient share in 2018 of nearly 20 percent in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Although some emerging agents will gain share, drug developers will continue to face significant obstacles in the major depression market.

"The challenge of developing new agents with improved efficacy and/or tolerability over current antidepressants remains a significant hurdle in major depression," said Decision Resources Analyst Alana Simorellis, Ph.D. "This is exemplified by the late-stage clinical trial failures of Sanofi-Aventis's saredutant and amibegron and NeuroSearch/GlaxoSmithKline's triple reuptake inhibitor."

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