COPD Lagging Behind in Asthma Innovation


Applied Clinical Trials

In terms of first-in-class (FIC) product innovation, the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) pipeline is lagging behind the asthma pipeline, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

The company's latest report, 'Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Asthma Aheadof COPD in Terms of Innovation with the Focus on Targeted Biologic Therapies for Severe Disease Phenotypes' reveals that the higher levels of FIC innovation in the asthma pipeline is focused on meeting the large unmet need for therapies which can treat severe asthma phenotypes.

FIC product development in COPD constitutes only a small fraction of the pipeline. Of the pipeline products which had a dicloed molecular target, only 31% are FIC product. Further to this, 66% of the FIC products in the COPD pipeline are found in the preclinical stage of development with no FIC products in Phase III development or later.

Philippa Salter, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, commented, "The industry average for FIC innovation wthin a disease area is approximately 40%, which means that not only is innovation in the COPD pipeline relatively low in comparison to the asthma pipeline, it is also much lower than the industry average. Combined with the lack of late-stage innovation, it is unlikely that any FIC products will be entering the COPD market in the near future."

There is a high unmet need for therapies that treat severe asthma and this is reflected in the asthma pipeline. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are the second most common molecule type in the asthma pipeline, indicating high levels of interest in developing targeted biologic therapies for severe phenotypes of asthma.

Salter continued, "The asthma market is saturated with relativey efficacious standard therapies, such as short-acting beta-agonists (SABAs) andinhaled corticosteroids (ICSs). Therefore, the development of targeted biologic therapies for severe phenotypes of asthma is one way that companies can penetrate the asthma market."

The most prevalent molecular target class in the asthma pipeline is cytokines/chemokines and their receptors, which account for 18% of the pipeline. This group itself is diverse, although interleukins (ILs) and IL receptors are by far the most numerous targets among the cytokines, with IL-33, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-17 being targeted most frequently.

Salter adds, "These ILs are heavily implicated in the inflammatoy response, notably for their role in recruiting inflammatory cells such as eosinophils. The specificity of these therapies means they are highly effective in a specific, more severe sub-types of asthma patients, such as those characterized by elevated levels of eosinophils."

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