The growing number of postmenopausal women translates into new challenges for clinicians as they strive to help women stay healthy during the second half of their lives. The aging of the world's female population has drawn attention to the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) market. Hormone Replacement Therapy, a new study from Decision Resources, Inc., identifies opportunities for novel products competing in this dynamic market.

  (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000303/DECISION )    HRT Drug Development Centers on Several Key Areas 

Companies are trying to expand the number of combination products available in transdermal form and, in some cases, provide them in once-weekly dosing schedules. Single-agent patches will offer transdermal formulations of several molecules (e.g., norethisterone, testosterone) previously available only in pill form. Companies are attempting to distinguish oral products in development by combining estrogen with a host of progestational agents that have not yet been made available for the management of HRT and are expected to have fewer progestogen-related side effects than some currently available agents.

Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) Are Poised to Capture Market Share

The most exciting area of HRT development involves SERMs. Continued development of these agents may lead to a product that can alleviate vasomotor symptoms (or at least will not exacerbate these symptoms, as raloxifene can). Research continues, focusing on SERMs' ability to prevent osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease, cardioprotective properties, and effect on breast and endometrial tissues. Two novel SERMs are in late-stage development: Wyeth-Ayerst/Ligand's TSE-424 and Pfizer/Ligand's lasofoxifene. Promising evidence has emerged from preliminary trials with these agents, as measured in terms of bone density markers, cholesterol levels, and lack of vasomotor side effects.

Wyeth-Ayerst Will Maintain An Edge in the HRT Market

Wyeth-Ayerst's conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) products (Premarin, Prempro, Premphase) will continue to lead the market through 2010. New SERMs, novel combination HRT products, and synthetic steroidal hormones, however, will make some inroads into the market, slowing growth of CEE products over the next decade. The most promising oral combinations under development include Aventis/Wyeth-Ayerst's estradiol-trimegestone and CEE-trimegestone combinations. Trimegestone promises to have a more benign side-effect profile than other progestogens currently on the market, and its launch as part of these combinations is enthusiastically awaited. These drugs' entry will help boost sales of oral combination products from $850 million in 2000 to almost $1.5 billion in 2010.

Decision Resources, Inc., is a world leader in pharmaceutical 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. Visit the Decision Resources Web site at http://www.dresources.com/.

Contact: Frank Sama, 781.296.2553 (telephone), 781.296.2550 (fax), or sama@dresources.com.

In Europe, contact Francoise Bidart, +32.2.351.4082 (telephone), +32.2.351.2347 (fax), or fbidart@decisionresources.be.

In Japan, contact Makiko Yoshimoto, +81.3.5401.2615 (telephone), +81.3.5401.2617 (fax), or makiko@bl.mmtr.or.jp.

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SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

Contact: Frank Sama of Decision Resources, Inc., +1-781-296-2553, or sama@dresources.com