Osteoarthritis pipeline shifting from analgesics to disease-modifying treatments as conventional analgesics offer inadequate pain relief, says GlobalData

The current osteoarthritis (OA) market has previously suffered from a lack of effective analgesics and disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) partially due to the complex pathophysiology of OA and the lack of appropriate outcome measures for progression of joint damage, says GlobalData. However, the leading data and analytics company notes that drugs that are currently under development in the OA pipeline are focused on a variety of novel pain-signaling targets and disease-modifying mechanisms.

OA is a slowly progressive joint disease characterized by degradation of the articular (hyaline) cartilage that coats the bone proximities of synovial joints. Damage to these structures causes irritation and pain, which intensifies with disease progression and can significantly decrease individuals’ quality of life. The sites mainly affected are the weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, spine, and feet, as well as the hands.

Mandana Emamzadeh, PhD, Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The expensive and prolonged clinical trials that are necessary to determine the disease-modifying effect of new drugs has driven previous developers toward advancing symptomatic treatments that offer immediate pain relief to patients over the development of DMOADs. As a result, the R&D strategy is mostly focused on symptomatic treatments, with six products in the pipeline, rather than DMOAD treatments, with only two pipeline products.”

“However, conventional analgesics offer inadequate pain relief in OA and are associated with a variety of adverse effects, thereby driving the development of novel analgesics with improved efficacy and low toxicity.”

Several analgesics with new mechanisms of action are currently under development, including Regeneron’s fasinumab, Organogenesis Holdings’s ReNu, Bone Therapeutics’s JTA-004, Techfields Pharma’s X-0002, Xalud Therapeutics’s XT-150, and Centrexion Therapeutics’s CNTX-4975.

Two DMOADs that slow the progression of joint damage, TissueGene’s Invossa, a gene-modified cell therapy, and Biosplice Therapeutics’s lorecivivint, a small molecule inhibitor of the Wnt pathway, are in late-stage development.

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