Frontier Pharma: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Becker Muscular Dystrophy - Identifying and Commercializing First-in-Class Innovation
Highly Innovative and Diverse Pipeline
The Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) pipeline consists of 84 molecules across all stages of development. GBI Research’s analysis revealed a high degree of innovation and diversity in this indication, with 70% of the pipeline being first-in-class products, acting on 13 first-in-class targets. This exceptional first-in-class innovation is largely due to the high number of first-in-class products solely targeting the dystrophin gene, which is the primary genetic cause of DMD and BMD. The strong presence of first-in-class products in the pipeline therefore creates a distinctly different landscape to the market landscape, which relies on symptomatic treatment glucocorticoids. Although Translarna (ataluren) is developed to correct the genetic defects, significant unmet needs remain in the market, as the treatment is applicable to only 10–15% of all DMD cases caused by nonsense mutations.
Despite a strong focus on personalized treatments that treat the genetic cause of the disease in the DMD/BMD pipeline, innovation is also concentrated on novel molecular targets that alleviate the dystrophic pathology regardless of gene mutations, thereby allowing widespread use in contrast to the mutation-specific treatments. These therapies are expected to be used alongside primary treatment to repair the mutated gene, halt muscle degeneration, and improve life expectancy of patients in the future market.Strong Alignment of Innovation to Genetics and Disease Processes in Early Pipeline
DMD, and BMD, which is the less severe form, are neuromuscular diseases caused by heritable mutations in the single dystrophin gene, which ultimately lead to progressive muscle weakness and degeneration due to destabilization of the sarcolemma (muscle cell membrane) and the resultant loss of muscle integrity. However, increasing evidence suggests that multiple secondary pathological mechanisms, rather than dystrophin deficiency alone, cause or contribute to the pathological features of DMD/BMD and drive disease progression. This further substantiates the need for better understanding of the downstream events of dystrophin deficiency to enable the identification of more potential molecular targets that in turn could be translated into disease-modifying treatments.
Our proprietary analyses show that the 13 first-in-class targets differ substantially in terms of clinical and commercial potential based on how well their functional roles align to the disease pathophysiology and the strength of evidence in Preclinical studies. Some molecular targets are therefore considered more promising than others due to a stronger potential to be translated into novel treatments. The most promising targets provide a strong scientific rationale to support their therapeutic development, as indicated by substantial improvement in both muscle histopathology and function in vivo across different animal model systems.
Analysis also indicates opportunities for some of the first-in-class DMD/BMD targets to be repositioned to other MDs, although this is expected to be challenging given the currently limited understanding of the common molecular processes defected across multiple types of MD.
Numerous Investment Opportunities in Deals Landscape
Strategic consolidation is relatively uncommon in the DMD/BMD market, with 15 licensing agreements and 18 co-development deals between 2006 and April 2015. Supported by findings from the industry-wide analysis, there is a tendency for first-in-class DMD programs to attract higher deal values than non-first-in-class programs, thus highlighting their commercial attractiveness. Despite the high-risk profile of first-in-class products, they have greater potential to revolutionize or improve therapeutic options, meaning that identifying promising first-in-class compounds early in development offers the greatest potential commercial benefit to pharmaceutical companies.
With 36 first-in-class products that are currently in development having not yet been involved in a licensing or co-development deal, there are numerous opportunities for in-licensing or co-development in this indication
The report analyzes innovation in DMD/BMD in the context of the overall pipeline and current market landscape. In addition, it analyzes the deals landscape surrounding first-in-class products in DMD/BMD and pinpoints opportunities for in-licensing.
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Muscular Dystrophy Treatment Pipeline Offers Hope for Improved Life Expectancy, says GBI Research
The highly diverse and innovative pipeline for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) treatment has the potential to produce therapies that will help repair the mutated gene, halt muscle degeneration, and improve patients’ life expectancy, says business intelligence provider GBI Research.
The company’s latest report* states that 70% of all pipeline programs with disclosed molecular targets are first-in-class. This exceptional level of innovation is largely due to the high number of first-in-class products that solely target the dystrophin gene, which is the primary genetic cause of DMD and BMD.
According to Angel Wong, Senior Analyst for GBI Research, the pipeline offers hope of improved treatment options for a condition that has no cure available at present, as the current DMD and BMD treatment space is extremely sparse and largely symptomatic, with limited long-term benefits.
Wong explains: “Over the last few decades, the market landscape has relied on the use of glucocorticoids, which offer symptomatic benefits in increasing muscle strength and a delay in the loss of ambulation in DMD/BMD patients, without altering the genetic cause and dystrophic pathology.
“Translarna (ataluren), despite being the first approved therapy for treating the underlying genetic cause in the EU, is only applicable in 10–15% of all DMD cases, leaving other patient segments with high unmet needs.”
However, the DMD and BMD pipeline consists of 84 molecules across all stages of development. GBI Research’s analysis has identified 46 first-in-class programs in active development, acting on 13 first-in-class targets.
Wong continues: “Overall, the DMD/BMD pipeline is very diverse in terms of molecular targets. Apart from the technologies that directly target the dystrophin gene, the pipeline also contains novel targets that alleviate the dystrophic pathology regardless of gene mutations. These targets include some dystrophin-associated proteins, which have the potential to functionally compensate for its loss and are therefore intended to treat the whole patient population.
“The diversity of molecular targets across the developmental pipeline presents a dramatic contrast to the current DMD therapeutics market landscape, and is expected to transform the market by fragmenting the current treatment algorithm,” the analyst concludes.
*Frontier Pharma: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Becker Muscular Dystrophy - Identifying and Commercializing First-in-Class Innovation
This report provides analysis of innovation in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) therapeutics in the context of the overall pipeline and current market landscape. It includes an evaluation of the deals landscape surrounding first-in-class products in DMD/BMD treatment and pinpoints opportunities for in-licensing.
This report was built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GBI Research’s team of industry experts.
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