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Novartis Competes for $10 Billion COPD Market

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Jarod Cassidy4 years ago

Competition begins as rising numbers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drive Novartis AG to make a grab for the $10 billion lung disease drug market currently dominated by GlaxoSmithKline.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Information provided by National Heart, Lung and Blood Insitute.

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), commonly called smokers cough, is a progressive disease in which damaged tissue, inflamed airways and overproduction of mucus restricts a person’s ability to breathe.
  • COPD is most often the result of smoking, though it can also result from long-term exposure to other lung irritants, and is characterized by wheezing, trouble of breathing, shortness of breath and coughing that produces large amounts of mucus.
  • Included in COPD diagnosis are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD may also result in asthma.
  • COPD is currently the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and kills 1 person every ten seconds worldwide.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that 65 million people across the globe currently suffer from moderate to severe COPD with numbers still growing.

GlaxoSmithKline’s Control of the COPD Drug Market could be Waning

  • For the past decade, GlaxoSmithKline has maintained a comfortable position controlling the majority of the COPD treatment market with its drug Advair.
  • Bloomberg reports that Advair is currently Glaxo’s top selling drug, accounting for $8 billion dollars in annual sells split evenly between COPD treatment and asthma treatment.
  • It is currently the third best selling drug in the world behind arthritis drugs Humira (AbbVie Inc.) and Remicade (Johnson & Johnson).
  • With the Advair patent in the U.S. (the world’s largest drug market) expiring in 2010, multiple pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, have begun to scramble to develop the next big COPD treatment.
  • However, clinical trials conducted by Glaxo for their latest COPD treatment, Breo Ellipta, show that the drug is no more effective than Advair, nor do they report any cost benefits for patients.
Growing Number of Smokers Drives up Demand and Draws Company Attention

“COPD is a global epidemic and a growing problem in both the developed world and in emerging markets. We see this as a sustained investment.” – David Morris, global head of primary care development for Novartis as published by Bloomberg.

  • According to Bloomberg Industries, current smoking trends in China suggest that the number of people suffering from moderate to severe COPD will soon reach 75 billion.
  • As such, the COPD drug market is projected to break $14 billion by 2018. Combined with asthma, treatment for respiratory diseases may result in a $30 billion market.
  • These numbers have not gone unnoticed by major drug companies already eying the patent vacuum left by Advair’s expiration.
  • Along with a number of companies looking to produce generic forms of Advair, Novartis AG is seeking U.S. approval for an entirely orginial COPD treatment, Ultibro.
  • Ultibro is already on the track for approval by the European Commission, and with it Novartis has experienced a stock increase of 23 percent.
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