Frontier Pharma: Schizophrenia and Associated Indications - Small but Diverse Range of First-in-Class Molecular Targets Hold Promise for Treatment of Negative and Cognitive Symptoms
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that is characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize what is real; its symptoms are broadly divided into positive, negative and cognitive. The treatment of schizophrenia is multi-factorial and includes medical, psychological and psychosocial inputs. Antipsychotic medication is the main pharmacological agent used, along with counselling, job training, and social rehabilitation. Both typical and atypical antipsychotics are used, and the choice of medication is usually left to the discretion of the treating physician. Clozapine, which is an atypical antipsychotic that binds to serotonin and dopamine receptors, is often given to patients who do not improve with other antipsychotics.
Current treatments, although effective for positive symptoms, have not proven as effective for negative symptoms and cognitive dysfunction, nor are there are any disease-modifying drugs currently available. The pipeline for schizophrenia is small, particularly given the large patient population, it also has low levels of innovation in comparison to other psychiatric indications in the pharmaceutical industry. However, the overall level of innovation in the pipeline for schizophrenia-related indications (which includes depression, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and cognitive deficit) is far higher, with these related products having the potential to provide some benefit to patients with schizophrenia.
The current clinical landscape of schizophrenia
Weak Pipeline Means Future Schizophrenia Market May Look to Treatment for Similar Indications, says GBI Research
Although the schizophrenia market is replete with unmet needs and its pipeline is paltry, the overall level of innovation for schizophrenia-related indications - which comprise depression, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and cognitive deficit - is far higher, and has the potential to provide some benefit to patients with schizophrenia, says business intelligence provider GBI Research.
According to the company’s latest report*, the large population of schizophrenia patients in relation to its small pipeline of 134 products is indicative of a low level of investment in Research and Development (R&D), most likely due to a poor understanding of the underlying disease mechanisms. This acts as a strong barrier to the development of effective pharmaceutical products.
Dominic Trewartha, Managing Analyst for GBI Research, explains: “While current treatments offer some relief from symptoms such as hallucinations, they have not proven as effective for cognitive dysfunction and symptoms such as the inability to feel pleasure, and there are no disease-modifying drugs currently available. A number of combinations, such as the addition of adjuvant agents to antipsychotic medication, have been trialed, but they have had little impact.”
There are 360 products in the pipeline for conditions associated with schizophrenia, 60 of which are first-in-class, equating to 21% of products with a disclosed molecular target. Overall, while the proportion of first-in-class products is still low, there are more in the pipeline for schizophrenia-related indications, particularly depressions and cognitive deficit, than there are for schizophrenia itself, and these act across a far wider range of molecular targets.
Trewartha continues: “The range of innovation is relatively diverse in the pipelines for schizophrenia and related indications, with products acting on numerous novel molecular targets, including D-Amino Acid Oxidase, glutamate carboxypeptidase 2, and a number of probable G protein-coupled receptors.
“It is likely that small molecules will remain clinically and commercially the most successful molecule types across many therapy areas and indications, being particularly relevant in the central nervous system (CNS) and schizophrenia, with only limited prospects that new product approvals could change the landscape.
“Despite industry-wide trends towards a diversification in therapeutic molecule types, it is unlikely that this will be translated in CNS disorders and schizophrenia, due to the challenges of crossing the blood-brain barrier with larger and more complex molecular types.”
*Frontier Pharma: Schizophrenia and Associated Indications - Small but Diverse Range of First-in-Class Molecular Targets Hold Promise for Treatment of Negative and Cognitive Symptoms
This report provides analysis of the schizophrenia treatment pipeline, stratified by stage of development, molecule type and molecular target. It includes information on the current clinical and commercial landscape, and the composition of the schizophrenia market in terms of molecule types and targets, as well as highlighting current unmet needs.
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.