Central Nervous System (CNS)- related disorders are among of the biggest threats to public health in this century. The global cost burden of fighting these diseases is massive and is likely to increase in the wake of the aging population.
Key industry drivers
As the pharma industry has invested heavily into the field at the beginning of the 21st century, the success stories have been absent, particularly within the devastating disease of Alzheimer. The low success rate has led to an abandonment from the field by some of the big pharma company’s. At the same time, significant progress has been made in the research field to gain a better understanding of the complexity of the brain. Moreover, there has been important technology advancement; gene biomarkers, and imaging techniques, that have facilitated earlier and better diagnostics within CNS. Better diagnostics and detection technologies also allows for a more homogenous screening of patients in the study design of clinical trials, which is further likely to increase the probability of successful results. In the least year, we have also taken part in truly encouraging data from clinical trials suggesting we could be on the verge of significant breakthroughs. If that is the case, Scandinavian biotech and research could come to be a significant part of that success story.
The CNS drug development includes, but are not limited to:
• Alzheimer’s Disease / Dementia-related diseases
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Traumatic brain injury
• Metabolic diseases / Eating disorders
• Dependence related disorders
• Sleep disorders
The markets within CNS are disparate; while indications such as migraine and schizophrenia are largely competitive and also to a large extent generic markets, the competitive landscape in, for instance, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease sub-indications have very few drugs approved. Nonetheless, almost all markets within CNS have significant medical needs and blockbuster potential should a drug make it to the market.
Drug development within CNS is among the most complex areas to invest. However, due to technology advancement and a deeper scientific understanding of the brain, we argue that it is now a more attractive state to evaluate the full potential of drug development in the CNS area. Further, we don’t have to go beyond the Scandinavian market to learn that there have been clinical trials in the last year that have revealed very encouraging data – the potential is close to unlimited if they make it all the way to the market.
- Significant unmet medical needs
- Low competitiveness in blockbuster indications as big pharma actors have been subject to setbacks
- A deeper, scientific understanding of the complexity of the brain
- Technology advancement in genetic biomarkers and imaging technology
- Highly promising study results within, not at least, the locomotive market; Alzheimer disease
The risk is high; the potential reward could be enormous!