It’s been 25 years since the launch of Prozac exploded the anti-depressant drug market, but a new three-part analysis of the drug development pipeline, patent filing and sales forecast data that we’ve released today found that, despite a steady downward trend antidepressant sales, global pharmaceutical companies are aggressively setting up partnership arrangements and rallying behind new Stage II pipeline drugs to target depression.
Their goal: Reaching the 350 million people worldwide who have depression, 50 percent of whom go untreated.
Our analysis dives into the behind-the-scenes industry activity (pipeline development, partnership activity, new patents, scientific literature publications) in the antidepressant space to spotlight some of the following key trends:
- Alkermes & Roche Claim the 3 Most Notable Antidepressants in Development: There are three notable drugs currently in Phase II clinical trials, all with mechanisms of action that differ significantly from traditional SSRI and SNRI type antidepressants on the market: Alkermes’ ALKS-5461 and Roche’s RG-7090 and RG-1578. Each of these is forecast by Thomson Reuters to surpass $100 million in sales by 2019.
- Development and Distribution Deals Heat Up: Licensing deals between pharmaceutical developers indicate a sustained interest in cracking the antidepressant market. The three largest antidepressant related deals currently on the table are between Otsuka/H.Lundbeck for Abilify and Brexpiprazole; Dainippon Sumitomo/Takeda for Latuda; an Otsuka/Bristol-Myers Squibb for Abilify.
- China Takes the Lead in Antidepressant Patent Activity: Since 2003, U.S. antidepressant patents have dropped 50%, while China’s has spiked 124%. The most active single company in this space is H. Lundbeck A/S, a Danish firm, and GlaxoSmithKline, a British multinational.
- Worldwide Sales Forecasts Declining: Antidepressant drug sales dropped 5.5 billion (from 15 billion in 2003 to 9.5 billion in 2012) and are projected to drop another 2.5 billion by 2019. The decline is being driven by the rapid rise of generics and a movement away from using drugs as a first line of treatment for depression.
To view infographic illustrating the analysis, click here.