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Neurology remains key therapeutic area for Japan pharma majors: GlobalData

According to GlobalData, the number of diagnosed prevalent cases of Alzheimer’s disease across major markets in APAC is expected to increase at an AGR of 4.54 per cent

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In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, key neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and depression pose significant challenges, particularly in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, where prevalence is high. The World Health Organization stated in March 2024 that “over 80 per cent of neurological deaths and health losses occur in low- and middle-income countries, and access to treatment varies widely.” Despite advancements in medical science, these conditions continue to impact millions of lives, prompting key Japan-based pharma majors to focus on research, development, and treatment strategies to address this unmet need, says GlobalData.

According to GlobalData’s Pharmaceutical Intelligence Center, for instance, the number of diagnosed prevalent cases of Alzheimer’s disease (excluding mild cognitive impairment) across major markets in APAC (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea) is expected to increase at an average annual growth rate (AGR) of 4.54 per cent from 7.45 million in 2023 to 9 million in 2028. In contrast to the AGR of Alzheimer’s disease in the US (3.56 per cent) and other western nations, this is higher.

Jithendra Kancharla, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “Neurological disorders encompass a broad spectrum of conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, often resulting in significant disability and impaired quality of life. In the APAC region, several factors contribute to the increasing prevalence of neurological disorders, including ageing populations, lifestyle changes, and the rising incidence of risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes.”

To cater to the unmet need, a number of Japan pharma companies have launched key assets. These include Eisai Co. Ltd.’s Aricept, and Leqembi for Alzheimer’s disease, and Fycompa for epilepsy; Otsuka Holding’s Abilify and Rexulti to treat schizophrenia and depression; Takeda commercialising Azilect (developed by Teva Pharmaceuticals) for Parkinson’s disease, and Trintellix (developed by H. Lundbeck A/s) for major depressive disorder in Japan.

According to GlobalData’s Pharmaceutical Intelligence Center, Eisai’s Aricept has generated $188 million globally in 2023, and Leqembi is expected to become the dominant drug in neurology, with global sales forecasted to rise from $372 million in 2024 to $7.3 billion in 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 117.6 per cent. The sales of Otsuka’s Rexulti in Japan are expected to increase from $114 million in 2023 to $556 million in 2030, with a CAGR of 25.5 per cent. Comparatively, Leqembi and Rexulti exhibit CAGRs of 134.1 per cent and 25.5 per cent, respectively, within the Japanese market, while in the US, their CAGRs stand at 0.9 per cent and 108.6 per cent, respectively. Strong sales of these medications demonstrate the ongoing need in this area for efficient therapies.

The pharma majors also have a substantial pipeline, indicating that they will likely continue to play a prominent role in neurology. Eisai’s robust pipeline includes the E2814 anti-MTBR tau antibody for Alzheimer’s disease in phase II/III, Takeda’s soticlestat in phase III, and Otsuka’s ulotaront in phase II/III, all of which are being tested for various neurological conditions.

“Neurological disorders represent a significant healthcare challenge in the Asia-Pacific region, with a growing need for effective treatments and interventions. Japanese pharmaceutical companies such as Eisai, Takeda, and Otsuka are at the forefront of addressing these challenges, leveraging their expertise, resources, and commitment to innovation to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients with neurological disorders in APAC and beyond. Through ongoing research, development, and collaborative efforts, these companies are paving the way for a brighter future for neurological healthcare in the region,” Kancharla concludes.


Edits made by EP News Bureau

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