Novartis to gain firm foothold in South Korea with triple combination asthma therapy, says GlobalData

South Korea has become the third country in the Asia-Pacific region after Japan and Australia to approve the first ever triple combination therapy from Novartis for maintenance in patients with persistent asthma. This is likely to help the company gain a strong foothold in the South Korean asthma market, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety approved Novartis’ triple combination, single inhaler therapy, Enerzair Inhalation Capsule (mometasone/indacaterol/ glycopyrronium), as a once-daily maintenance treatment of asthma in December 2020. The ministry also approved the dual combination therapy, Atectura Inhalation Capsule (mometasone/indacaterol) as a maintenance therapy in December 2020. Xolair (omalizumab) and Zaditen (ketotifen fumarate) are the other two asthma drugs from Novartis, which have been approved so far in South Korea.

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, the total number of lifetime diagnosed prevalence of persistent asthma cases in South Korea is expected to increase at an annual growth rate of 1.88% from 596,550 in 2019 to 708,424 in 2029. Triple therapy combination is most likely to benefit moderate and severe persistent asthma patients.

Ms. Sasmitha Sahu, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Patients with chronic asthma need to rely on maintenance therapy to prevent symptoms and the subsequent exacerbations. However, asthma patients tend to show poor medication adherence leading to exacerbations, which in turn lead to increased hospitalization costs. The fixed triple combination in a single inhaler from Novartis is likely to improve maintenance therapy adherence.”

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, the domestic subsidiaries of AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are the key players in the South Korean asthma market based on their number of marketed therapies. However, GSK is yet to file for its triple combination therapy Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol) in South Korea and AstraZeneca’s triple combination therapy budesonide / glycopyrronium / formoterol is still in Phase III trials for asthma exacerbations.

In July 2020, Novartis obtained market reimbursement for Xolair as a treatment for moderate-to-severe persistent asthma in South Korea.

Ms. Sahu concludes: “Novartis perceives South Korea as a lucrative market for its asthma products. The company will get the first mover advantage as there is no other triple combination therapy available in the country. It will be comparatively easier for Novartis to get reimbursement for Enerzair due to its triple combination therapy. However, the company needs to ramp up its digital activities in South Korea to drive awareness among patients and health care professionals around triple therapy combinations.”

More Media