Rheumatoid Arthritis is a new study from Decision Resources, Inc., that examines the pipeline of emerging therapies for RA and evaluates the commercial potential of prescription drugs in the RA marketplace through 2009.

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The most revolutionary change in RA treatment in the United States is the recent introduction of biological agents that inhibit the activity of tumor necrosis factor-alpha: etanercept (Immunex/American Home Products' Enbrel) and infliximab (Centocor/Johnson & Johnson's Remicade). Clinical data have demonstrated that these drugs are far more effective than methotrexate, the current gold standard. Because of exorbitant costs and lingering safety concerns, these agents are reserved for patients with active RA who are refractory to methotrexate. However, in April 2000, an advisory committee to the FDA recommended an expanded label for etanercept to include patients with early active RA.

We expect that tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors will remain the most prominent new drug class for at least five years. Promising new strategies on the horizon are those that target the joints with higher specificity, such as novel cytokine inhibitors. One strategy embraced by many thought leaders is the possibility of using biologic agents in combination therapy (for example, etanercept with Amgen's interleukin-1 receptor antagonist [IL-1ra]) to inhibit more than a single inflammatory pathway.

We estimate that sales of RA therapies in the seven major markets were almost $1.5 billion in 1999. We believe this market will grow considerably over our ten-year study period, achieving total sales of $6.6 billion by 2009. The majority of this growth will be driven by continued adoption of biological agents and novel cytokine modulators that are likely to reach the market by 2004. We estimate the biological segment of the RA marketplace will alone be worth approximately $4.5 billion in 2009. Selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors will contribute to further growth in the RA marketplace, achieving total sales for this indication of nearly $1 billion by 2009.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is part of the Immune and Inflammatory Disorders portfolio, one of six Pharmacor services that evaluate the commercial potential of drugs in research and development.

Decision Resources, Inc., is a world leader in 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, assessing industry trends in the international health care and pharmaceutical industries.

Contact: Frank Sama, 781.487.3753 (telephone), 781.487.5750 (fax), or sama@dresources.com (e-mail). In Europe, contact Ms. Francoise Bidart, +32.2.351.4082 (telephone), +32.2.351.2347 (fax), or fbidart@decisionresources.be (e-mail). In Japan, contact Ms. Makiko Yoshimoto, +81.3.5401.2615 (telephone), +81.3.5401.2617 (fax), or makiko@bl.mmtr.or.jp (e-mail).

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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

Contact: Frank Sama of Decision Resources, 781-487-3753, or

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