The global market for multiple sclerosis products was worth approximately $16 billion in 2012 and is expected to grow to around $20 billion by 2018.
As this expansion occurs, Biogen Idec is expected to cast an increasingly dominant shadow over the market and will see its share of the MS space increase from 34 percent to approximately 50 percent.
This trend will predominantly be driven by uptake for its recently launched Tecfidera franchise, which is expected to become the biggest selling MS product by 2018 with global sales of approximately $4.2 billion. See Spotlight On: Biogen Idec's Tecfidera – the story so far...and where next for the drug launch of the year?
The commercial performance of Tecfidera also encapsulates another key trend within the market; the emergence of oral therapies, which will grow heavily at the expense of the older ABCR (Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone and Rebif) franchises.
Accounting for around 8 percent of the total MS market in 2012 (by virtue of rapid uptake for Novartis' Gilenya – which was launched in late 2011), oral products are expected to have assumed a 37 percent share by 2018. In contrast, the market share of the ABCRs will decline from 75 percent to around 32 percent over the same period.
According to consensus forecasts, it is sales of Teva's Copaxone that will decline the most as a result of these headwinds over the next five years, declining from around $4 billion in 2012 to $1.7 billion in 2018.
Despite its better-than-expected launch in the US, the regulatory path for Tecfidera in the EU market appears less certain. How successful Biogen Idec is in securing data protection for the drug in the region is likely to dictate whether the company will dominate the MS segment on both sides of the Atlantic - see ViewPoints: Tecfidera streaks towards blockbuster run rate, questions remain over European launch.
It should, of course, be noted that although Tecfidera looks set to emerge as a key product in the company's portfolio, both Biogen Idec's current and long-term strategy in the MS market will be shaped by a broader number of products. The company acquired full marketing rights for Tysabri earlier this year from Elan and is also looking to secure regulatory approval for a pegylated version of Avonex.
Crucially, key opinion leaders (KOLs) interviewed by FirstWord’s Therapy Trends team believe that Biogen Idec could secure a longer term dominance of the MS market via a number of experimental products in its late stage pipeline. One product – currently known as Lingo and in Phase Ib/IIa studies – could meet the requirement for an MS therapy that is regenerative rather than disease modifying, note KOLS - see Multiple Sclerosis: KOL Insight - The oral era begins
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