Tauopathy drugs for neurodegenerative diseases could take off after first-to-market drug is launched

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The tauopathies market, which covers more than 20 neurodegenerative diseases such as progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration characterized by tau protein aggregation in the brain, will be driven primarily by the development of novel therapeutics with a first-to-market drug boosting sales and encouraging pharma companies to focus R&D efforts on this market, according to GlobalData, a recognized leader in providing business information and analytics.

The company’s latest report states that once the first drug in the tauopathies market is approved, it could incentivize R&D from other pharma companies, setting an example for an effective therapeutic approach and regulatory approval process. Additionally, the approval of a drug in one tauopathy indication is likely to prompt its off-label use in other indications, driving sales further.

Akiko Fukui, MSc, Healthcare Analyst for GlobalData, explains: “There are currently no approved therapies to treat tauopathy patients, and as such, the first-to-market drug will secure a high patient share, boosting sales and establishing a strong company presence in the tauopathies space. In turn, the market will be made more attractive for other manufacturers, as strong sales performance of the first product will reduce financial risk.

“The first drug will set an example for effective mechanisms of action (MOAs), regulatory processes, and clinical efficacy demonstrations that future manufacturers will be able to replicate. As a result, investment in R&D of drugs for tauopathies is likely to increase. Currently, there is great uncertainty around which MOAs will provide efficacy in tauopathy patients, either as disease-modifying or symptomatic treatments.”

If a disease-modifying approach is approved, patients’ lives will be extended and this will provide a basis for increased revenue for companies. Equally, a symptomatic treatment will likely provide relief for patients or their caregivers, and will prove to be a long-lasting revenue source. Indeed, if the first disease-modifying drug enables patients to live longer, this will create additional demands to treat symptoms for older patients, driving further market growth.

Fukui continues: “The possibility of expanding sales from the tauopathies market into the much larger Alzheimer’s disease space is another strong incentive for drug manufacturers, as successful entry into these markets would provide huge revenue.”

GlobalData has identified four products in the late-stage pipeline that are currently in development as therapies for tauopathies, namely Avanir/Otsuka’s AVP-786, AB Sciences’ masitinib, TauRx Pharmaceuticals’ TRx-237, and Sellas/Catalent’s zolpidem. There are also several products by other potential players in the early- and Preclinical/Discovery stages.

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