Friday, December 2, 2011

anti - TNF Drugs Leading Battle Against Arthritis

Tumor necrosis factor, or TNF, related to cell death that leads to inflammation, is a main cause of arthritis pain.   According to the report, products such as Remicade, Enbrel or Humira that can block TNF have been effective in treatment and are leading in terms of revenue for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  Abbott’s Humira leads the group of TNF products.  But as the report’s author suggests, the success of these products with rheumatologists and patients also means that it has become a competitive marketplace.
“Humira will likely become the world’s  biggest-selling drug  by 2016, after the fall of Lipitor in 2011,” said Melissa Elder, who authored our recent report on this topic.    “However, new products on the horizon and other factors may challenge this dominance over the next five years.”
Entrants to this area include Bristol-Myers Squibb, with its newest introduction of Orencia, UCB with Cimzia and many others. So far the existing products have fended off those challenges.  Some of the key other factors that may challenge anti-TNF dominance include new small molecule therapies attempting to vie for  first-line utilization; launch of biosimilars; and physicians gaining comfort with IL-6 therapies. One or all of these could potentially derail the anti-TNF dominance. The strongest near-term competitor is Pfizer’s tofacitinib, a JAK1-3 inhibitor. Tofacitinib is a small molecule therapy and can be manufactured  more cheaply than biologic therapies.  However, there are some safety concerns with the product.  On-going Phase III clinical trials will help to sort out the concerns and provide potential indications.
The report notes that the prescription arthritis market is not without its challenges for all drug makers.   Reimbursement for high-price biologic medicines will be challenging over the next few years as payors seek to manage cost through purchasing arrangements and cost-sharing with their insured population, which could be a limiter to price growth, according to the report.
Kalorama Information’s report, The World Market for Prescription Arthritis Treatments, has more information on this pharmaceutical market category including segment market estimates, trends in the industry and detailed company profiles.  The report can be found at Kalorama Information’s website at: