Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive and incurable auto-immune disease that majorly affects the joints in a human body. It is identified by synovial inflammation and gradual bone erosion over the years. The major symptoms are stiffness, pain in hands and feet and obstruct a patient’s mobility. Lack of medical help will result in joint destruction and disability. Any patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis requires continuous treatment that is relatively very expensive. Therefore, rheumatoid arthritis therapeutic market is highly competitive due to increasing number of new drug approvals. Competition is fierce in the therapeutic market among TNF-α inhibitors for patients who are refractory to traditional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD).
Majority of the rheumatoid arthritis patients do not respond when treated with TNF-α inhibitors. Therefore, small-molecule DMARDs such as the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor and Xeljanz (tofacitinib) replace the ineffective TNF-α inhibitors. Xeljanz is very effective because it reduces the risk of developing cardiac diseases such as heart attack and stroke in patients. Xeljanz is an orally administered small-molecule drug which is used as a second-line treatment for rheumatoid arthritis patients who do not respond to methotrexate, and as a third-line therapy for rheumatoid arthritis patients who do not respond to biologics.
According to the study “Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapeutics in Asia-Pacific Markets to 2023-Novel JAK and IL-6 Receptor Inhibitors to Stimulate Moderate Growth Despite Launch of Biosimilars of Blockbuster Anti-TNFs”, in Asia-Pacific region, there is a need to improve safety in the therapeutic category. Elevated rates of infection were observed due to frequent consequences of the immune-suppression involved in treatments. Therefore, biological therapies are not recommended to patients who are susceptible to any infection. There is a need to create biologics with more convenient and less invasive drug-delivery methods because the existing therapies for rheumatoid arthritis are administered subcutaneously or intravenously. Such drug delivery methods in rheumatoid arthritis patients are frequently associated with pain, rash, and allergic reactions at the injection or infusion site, in the case of infusion, flu-like illness, fever, chills, nausea, and headache. There is a need to develop convenient and safe drug administration procedures for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Advanced medical technology has witnessed great changes in the field of diagnostic technology to strengthen the performance of rheumatoid arthritis drug manufacturers in Asia-Pacific region. The new products in the Asia-Pacific rheumatoid arthritis market are Sirukumab, an antiIL6 human mAb; Peficitinib, Upadacitinib and Filgotinib, which are JAK1 inhibitors; Olokizumab, an antiIL6 humanized IgG4 mAb; and RCT18, a recombinant human Blymphocyte stimulating factor (BLyS) receptor antibody fusion protein.
With the recently approved rheumatoid arthritis therapies along with new therapies are sure to drive the rheumatoid arthritis therapeutics market in Asia-Pacific. The promising pipeline companies are Johnson & Johnson (J&J), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)’s sirukumab, and Galapagos’s filgotinib. The leading players in rheumatoid arthritis therapeutics market are AbbVie, Amgen, Amgen, Daiichi Sankyo, Biogen Idec, Genentech, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Regeneron, Sanofi, Roche and UCB.
India, Australia, China, South Korea and Japan are the leading consumers in Asia-Pacific (APAC) rheumatoid arthritis therapeutics market. Japan accounted for a majority share of the market, followed by China, Australia, India and South Korea. The introduction of biologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) has helped in the growth of the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) market in Asia-Pacific tremendously over the last two decades. This growth is expected to continue at a moderate pace in the next few years.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications