The realization that obesity is a treatable medical condition has created a lucrative opportunity for pharmaceutical development. Obesity, a new study from Decision Resources, Inc., reviews current and emerging drugs to treat obesity and evaluates their commercial prospects over a 1999-2009 study period.

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In the past several years, researchers have made great strides in understanding and treating obesity. Thought leaders interviewed for this study view satiety factors that regulate appetite control as an important set of targets for new drugs. In addition, they are eager to see development in the area of increased thermogenesis, with drugs that cause an increased rate of metabolism. In particular, physicians are interested in drugs that enhance the effect of uncoupling proteins, including beta3-adrenoceptor (B3A) agonists. Some specialists believe that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can play a supportive role in helping depressed obese patients, but that more evidence will be necessary if physicians are to prescribe these drugs specifically for weight loss. Experts also believe that any neuropeptide Y antagonists developed for obesity must be highly selective and must be administered in combination with other drugs to avoid a compensatory increase in appetite from other weight-regulating systems in the body. Because of the overlapping and varied paths to obesity, any drug targets that emerge will likely be effective for only certain patient groups.

We expect that B3A agonists and leptin-related compounds will enter the market in the second half of our study period, but their late entry will make them minor players in overall market share through 2009. We estimate that the total seven-country market for pharmaceutical treatment of obesity was approximately $490 million in 1999. The continued uptake of the marketed drugs sibutramine (Knoll's Meridia/Reductil) and orlistat (Roche's Xenical) will drive most of the 15% annual growth we predict over the 1999-2009 study period. We expect that sales of obesity drugs will explode to $1.6 billion in 2004, and that sales growth will level off by 2009, when sales will reach almost $2 billion.

Obesity is part of Mosaic, one of six Pharmacor services that evaluate the commercial potential of drugs in research and development.

Contact: Frank Sama, 781.487.3753 (telephone), 781.487.5750 (fax), or (e-mail). In Europe, contact Ms. Francoise Bidart, +32.2.351.4082 (telephone), +32.2.351.2347 (fax), or (e-mail). In Japan, contact Ms. Makiko Yoshimoto, +81.3.5401.2615 (telephone), +81.3.5401.2617 (fax), or (e-mail).

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.


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

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