GBI ResearchThe asthma therapeutics market in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will grow from $3.5 billion in 2014 to $5.6 billion by 2021, at a strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2%, according to business intelligence provider GBI Research.

The company’s latest report states that the primary driver of this considerable rise is the prevalence of asthma across the APAC countries, which include China, India, Australia, South Korea and Japan. The condition is burgeoning as a result of ageing populations and increases in air pollution, dust and pollen levels, which both cause and exacerbate asthma in children.

Aswini Nath, Analyst for GBI Research, says: “As well as the increasing incidence of the disease, six costly biologics are set to enter the APAC asthma market, which will push its value up considerably. These consist of GlaxoSmithKline’s mepolizumab, Teva’s reslizumab, Chugai/Roche’s lebrikizumab, Sanofi/Regeneron’s dupilumab, and AstraZeneca’s tralokinumab and benralizumab.

“The most advanced of these drugs is mepolizumab, which is currently at the pre-registration stage in Japan, while the other five monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are in Phase III development in the APAC region. As the cost of these treatments is likely to be high in comparison with more established drugs, strong uptake could well increase the cost of treatment for asthma patients.”

In terms of disease prevalence trends within the five APAC countries, India has the highest number of asthma sufferers. In 2014, 53.6 million people were estimated to be living with the disease, which is approximately 52.4% of the total assessed Asia-Pacific prevalence.

Nath elaborates: “Lack of knowledge of the condition among the public, an increasing ageing population and higher levels of air and dust pollution will mean the prevalence rate will continue to rise during the period, resulting in 57 million sufferers by 2021. Despite this, India only represented 12.2% of the APAC asthma market in 2014, which reflects the low cost of therapy in comparison with the other assessed countries.”

Japan, by contrast, was the largest market of the five APAC countries in 2014 at $1.8 billion, and will continue its lead to 2021, growing to $3 billion at a CAGR of 7.1%, according to GBI Research.

“As Japan is ranked only third of the five countries in terms of disease prevalence, this reflects the relatively high cost of drugs, and the country’s readiness to adopt promising new molecules such as the IL-targeting mAbs,” the analyst concludes.