Many Parkinson’s Disease Programs in Development, GBI Research Reports

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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An analysis from business intelligence provider GBI Research titled “Frontier Pharma: Parkinson’s Disease — Identifying and Commercializing First-in-Class Innovation,” claims the current Parkinson’s disease (PD) treatment market relies on neuromodulators, and even though symptoms might be soothed, no neuromodulator has demonstrated neuroprotective properties to prevent or even slow down neuronal cell death.

However, the pipeline for PD is highly active, with 365 programs in all development stages and with diverse ranges of molecular targets.

“The Parkinson’s disease treatment pipeline is characterized by a high level of innovation compared to the central nervous system segment and the industry as a whole, with 43 percent of all pipeline programs with disclosed molecular targets being first-in-class,” analyst Angel Wong said in a press release.

“While neuromodulators remain dominant in the pipeline, there are a number of targets which address different pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease. This demonstrates a shift from traditional symptomatic treatments to disease-modifying therapies.”

Wong said potentially disease-modifying treatments are still in their early stages of development but are expected to fulfill significant unmet needs in the PD market in the long run. The report continues by stating there are 94 first-in-class products available for strategic consolidations, which means a wide range of investment opportunities are open for licensing or co-development deals in the field of PD.

“There is substantial focus on early-stage collaboration in Parkinson’s disease, especially for first-in-class products,” Wong said. “This is predominantly driven by growing unmet needs, the current lack of disease-modifying therapies and a desire for risk-sharing. Several first-in-class products have demonstrated promising pre-clinical evidence, and have significant potential to become game-changing products, representing high-reward investments.”

PD is a chronic and progressive disorder with an unknown cause and no present cure, despite treatment options such as medication and surgery. PD involves the malfunction of vital neurons, which, when dying, produce dopamine — a chemical that interferes with the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination.

As PD progresses, there is less dopamine in the brain, leading to the patient’s inability to control movement. Main symptoms include bradykinesia (slow movements), tremor, postural instability or rigidity (stiffness of the limbs). It is estimated that nearly 1 million people live with PD in the U.S.