Globaldata logo newUnmet needs in the rheumatoid arthritis space, which is set to reach a value of $28.5 billion by 2025, are not expected to be directly addressed by pipeline agents over the next few years, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s latest report states that the disease is effectively treated by currently available options, and upon launch, pipeline agents will compete for the same patient populations. Although drugs with novel mechanisms of action are welcome additions to the market, the real challenge will be to determine where these drugs fit into the treatment paradigm.

Kavita Rainova, MSc, Senior Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData, explains: “Unmet needs, including the need for personalized treatments and earlier diagnosis, are likely to be met through initiatives and research efforts to understand the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis, and through the development of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for the disease.

“While research in this area is underway, it is expected that individualized medicine will still be in its beginning stages by the end of the forecast period in 2025.”

With ongoing research in biomarker discovery, it is likely that subsets of rheumatoid arthritis patients will be described at a molecular level, which is expected to have major implications in the treatment of the disease, and may even assist physicians in making informed decisions about tapering off medications.

Rainova continues: “Drug developers should be aware of the ongoing trend of tapering off medications. As biologics are so expensive, patients and physicians must often work together to find a regimen that works best for the patient. This may involve taking drugs less frequently or even stopping therapy altogether if the patient has responded well and no longer has active disease.

“The frequency of dosing is often taken into account with regard to drug pricing. For example, Simponi is more expensive per injection than Enbrel, as Simponi is taken only once for every four injections of Enbrel. Drug developers should account for drug tapering in their pricing strategy, and possibly even consider offering rebates for qualified patients as a financial incentive for those who cannot afford these medications.”