The increasing incidence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), improving diagnostic technologies and the prospect of new therapies are driving the global AD market. BCC Research reveals in its new report the need for effective treatments has become more urgent, especially given the recurrent failure of several prominent disease-modifying agents in late-stage development.
AD is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that mostly affects people above the age of 65. Characteristics of the disorder include the gradual deterioration of the brain cells, and cognitive and functional impairment, which are manifested as dementia (memory loss), impaired reasoning, repetitive movements, agitation, anxiety, depression, insomnia and other various symptoms.
The global market for AD therapeutics and diagnostics should reach more than $6.2 billion by 2020 from $4.4 billion in 2015, reflecting a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1%. The North American market should reach more than $2.2 billion and 2.9 billion in 2015 and 2020, respectively, demonstrating a 5-year CAGR of 5.3%. In Asia-Pacific, the market should total $2.6 billion by 2020, up from $1.6 billion in 2015, with a 5-year CAGR of 10.7%.
Alzheimer’s disease, which cannot be prevented, cured or slowed, is growing rapidly, affecting more than 17 million worldwide. Therapies for AD provide temporary and modest improvements in the well-being of individuals, and none of the approved drugs can modify the course of the disease progression. The immense size of the affected population and lack of appropriate and effective treatment offers a tremendous commercial opportunity.
The increasing AD population, increasing awareness and diagnostic rates, and improved access to treatment and public funding are driving market growth. Growth hindrances include a poor understanding of the disease, strict regulation of AD therapies and the widespread introduction of generic equivalents of branded drugs. Yet, despite the recurring failures in the development of novel therapies for AD, the global markets are demanding new and more effective, disease attenuating treatments, with first-in-class approvals. This expectation also is driving the market.
Because efforts to improve symptomatic treatment have proven challenging, companies are looking for molecules that are capable of interfering with AD pathology before the symptoms arise. In May 2011, the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute of Aging (NIA) collaboratively introduced a presymptomatic stage for AD in the diagnostic guidelines, which is known as prodromal AD. Novel therapies, such as vaccines and small molecules targeting amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) (two disease-related formations that are connected to the onset and progression of AD), are intended for the early prevention and delay of the disease onset during the prodromal stage.
“Despite the rich pipeline, the market for AD treatments and diagnostics has suffered from high drug attrition rates and very long approval times,” says BCC Research analyst Ufuk Ezer. “Drugs that potentiate a key chemical, acetylcholine, involved in learning, memory and various cognitive functions, have shown modest clinical utility. Tacrine, the first approved acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI), was discontinued; however, AChEIs with better safety profiles have entered the market.”
Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutics and Diagnostics: Global Markets analyses technologies and applications, programmes in development, and quantifies market opportunities. The report also examines trends, pricing considerations, R&D, government regulations, and competitive technologies. Analyses of global market drivers and trends, with data from 2014, estimates for 2015, and projections of CAGRs through 2020 also are provided.