GBI ResearchThe global treatment market for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) will rise steadily from $9.2 billion in 2014 to $11.2 billion in 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.9%, according to business intelligence provider GBI Research.

The company’s latest report identifies the reason for this modest growth as a relatively stable prevalence rate of COPD during the forecast period.

Yasser Mushtaq, Senior Analyst for GBI Research, states that the relatively unchanging incidence rate of COPD is largely down to the decline of tobacco smoking in many developed nations, combined with the fact that an ever-ageing population will be more susceptible to the disease.

Mushtaq explains: “The COPD therapeutics market landscape during the forecast period will be characterized by the sales erosion of leading brands. Currently, the market is dominated by three brands, namely Pfizer’s Spiriva, GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK’s) Advair and AstraZeneca’s Symbicort, which have all generated multi-billion dollar revenues to date. The patents for these leading brands have either expired or will do very soon, leaving the market open to generic competition, which will impact negatively on these brands’ sales figures.”

GBI Research’s report also notes that despite the patent expirations for key therapies, the market will see the approval of multiple high-profile products from 2015. However, the majority of these will represent addition-in-class products, which will likely only offer incremental improvements over existing ones.

GSK, AstraZeneca and Chiesi Farmaceutici are all developing such products, which include fixed-dose combination treatments, including three triple combinations. Several first-in-class products are also in development, the most notable of which, GSK’s mepolizumab, is expected to launch in 2017 and will generate sales of approximately $1.7 billion by 2021.

Mushtaq continues: “The combined effect of a large number of product approvals and generic alternatives entering the COPD treatment market will increase competition and potentially drive down prices. The market, which used to be dominated by only a few brands, will become more fragmented and will see the introduction of various brands with similar characteristics.”

“Currently, none of the available therapies have been shown to modify long-term disease progression, leaving a strong need for a disease-modifying therapy that targets the natural history of the disease. This presents an attractive opportunity for major pharma players,” Mushtaq concludes.