Multiple Sclerosis Therapeutics Market Forecast: Future Projections
Multiple sclerosis (MS), a leading cause of neurological disabilities, continues to affect millions worldwide. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, in 2017, nearly 2.5 million people were living with MS, with an annual global incidence rate of 7 per 100,000. The increasing prevalence of the disease, coupled with the escalating economic burden it places on healthcare systems, is driving the demand for innovative multiple sclerosis therapeutics. However, the costs associated with MS treatment remain a significant challenge for patients and healthcare providers.
The adoption of MS therapeutics is set to rise, particularly with the growing number of patients suffering from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) and relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Contributing to this upward trajectory is a robust pipeline of MS drugs poised for commercialization. Public education and awareness campaigns about MS and its symptoms are also expected to play a pivotal role in expanding the market.
Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Therapeutics Market Spurs Drug Manufacturers into Action
The high unmet needs in the progressive MS landscape are fueling the demand for rapid-acting and effective MS drugs. Drug manufacturers are responding by enhancing their existing product portfolios. For instance, Biogen Idec recently introduced Plegridy, a long-acting PEGylated version of its interferon Avonex. These developments present a significant growth opportunity for marketers aiming to address unmet needs such as improved safety, simplified dosing, and better drug tolerability. The increasing prevalence of MS and rising R&D investments by pharmaceutical companies further drive the growth of the MS therapeutics market.
A Promising Pipeline for Progressive MS Treatment
There are several promising drug candidates in the pipeline, offering diverse mechanisms to seek approval for the treatment of progressive MS—a substantial unmet need in the field. However, the entry of biosimilars and generic molecules, along with the high cost of treatment, could pose challenges to market growth. MS treatments are known to be expensive, with costs exceeding approximately US$50,000 per patient per year. In the United States, for example, the average annual cost of MS drugs is approximately US$28,152, while all other health-related costs amount to US$13,608.
RRMS Dominates the Multiple Sclerosis Landscape
Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is the most common form of the disease, representing roughly 85% of all MS cases. It is characterized by episodes of new or worsening symptoms, followed by periods of remission. Studies have indicated that women are 2 to 3 times more susceptible to RRMS than men, often due to hormonal factors. RRMS typically follows a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), which involves a single, first-ever episode with symptoms lasting for at least 24 hours. Furthermore, around 50% of RRMS patients develop a secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) pattern within 10 years of disease onset. Approximately 10% develop primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), and less than 5% develop progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS).
Disease Modifying Therapies (DMTs) Shaping the MS Therapeutics Market
Most disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are designed for RRMS and SPMS. While treatment options continue to expand, there has been a shift in preference from traditional injectable therapies to oral medications. The era of oral drugs began with the launch of Gilenya in 2011 and was solidified in 2013 with the introduction of Tecfidera, the current market leader. However, self-injectable medications still comprise the largest category of DMTs in the multiple sclerosis therapeutics market, driven by convenience as a key factor for patients.
Infusion therapies also continue to see steady growth. Monoclonal antibody infusion therapy, such as Lemtrada, received approvals from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in September 2013 and from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2014. However, intravenous infusions carry an increased risk of infections, limiting their potential for growth. Currently, Ocrevus (Ocrelizumab) is the only FDA-approved medication for PPMS. Upcoming compounds like Kesimpta (Novartis International AG) and Zeposia (Bristol Myers Squibb) are poised to intensify competition in the saturated relapsing MS therapeutics market. Additionally, Tolebrutinib (Sanofi Genzyme) and Fenebrutinib (Roche Holding AG) are in Phase III development for progressive forms of MS, while the looming threat of oral generics could impact reimbursement and market access in the US and certain European countries.
Market Dominance by Deep-Pocket Players
Leading the charge in the multiple sclerosis market are Biogen Inc.’s Tecfidera, followed by Novartis International AG’s Gilenya and Roche Holding AG’s Ocrevus. Among these, Ocrevus shows promising growth potential, as some other blockbuster drugs are set to lose market exclusivity in the coming years. Other notable prescribed drugs in the multiple sclerosis therapeutics market include Copaxone (Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.), Tysabri and Avonex (Biogen Inc.), Aubagio and Lemtrada (Sanofi S.A.), Rebif (Merck KGaA), and Betaferon (Bayer AG).
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