Drug developers advance milestone treatments for chronic and progressive conditions including Alzheimer’s, psoriasis, prostate cancer and congestive heart failure and fast-emerging COVID-19 vaccines
Clarivate Plc , a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, announced the launch of its annual "Drugs to Watch" list, identifying drugs entering the market or launching key indications in 2021 are predicted to achieve blockbuster status by 2025.
Beyond the unprecedented achievements of the industry’s response to COVID-19, drug developers have advanced milestone treatments for conditions affecting millions of patients worldwide. This year’s Drugs to Watch list and corresponding analyses focus on treatments for chronic, progressive and often debilitating diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s, prostate cancer and congestive heart failure. This year’s Drugs to Watch report also features a snapshot of the fast-emerging field of COVID-19 vaccines which analyzes vaccines that were granted emergency use authorizations/conditional approvals as of February 10, 2021. Learnings from some of the adjustments the industry made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will likely shape biopharma R&D and commercialization well beyond the immediate crisis, including: faster clinical trials, a surge in investment, increased collaboration and more remote care and consultation.
Among new drugs and biologics that have either won approval or are on the cusp of doing so, Clarivate has identified four treatments that are likely to achieve blockbuster status, delivering annual sales of more than $1 billion, within five years. The 2021 Drugs to Watch include:
- Aducanumab, developed by Biogen and Eisai – a potential game changer in the fight to build a pharmacopeia against Alzheimer's disease, which affects an estimated 50 million patients worldwide. If approved, aducanumab would be the first disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and could unlock a monumental opportunity to radically change patient care and transform the market. If approved, demand for treatment will be enormous, potentially even decreasing willingness to forgo this treatment for an investigational drug in future clinical trials.
- Bimekizumab, developed by UCB – which offers significantly fewer side effects to patients with psoriasis, a condition affecting an estimated 2-3% of the global population, and a host of other autoimmune diseases. While bimekizumab is a late-class entrant providing incremental improvement over existing treatment options, it is expected to have best-in-class efficacy and fewer serious side effects.
- Relugolix, developed by Takeda – one of the first of a new class of treatments, with an oral formulation to address prostate cancer, the second-most-common malignancy afflicting men, as well as endometriosis and uterine fibroids, painful conditions affecting millions of women. Its potential use for three indications increases its chances of success. The oral formulation provides advantages over the injectable GnRH agonist competitors, including convenience and better management of side effects.
- Vericiguat, developed by Bayer and Merck – an innovative heart failure treatment and the first indicated specifically for high-risk, chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), a particularly at-risk population. Vericiguat's novel mechanism of action should result in its acceptance as an add-on therapy to existing treatments. It will likely find its niche among highrisk HFrEF patients, become a welcome addition to the treatment armamentarium and expand their treatment options.