We are living in an amazing era! Every few months we see breakthroughs in drug development and research innovation contributing to the eradication and treatment of respiratory pathogens and diseases. Corporates are investing tremendous level of capital into Research & Development.
In addition, we have great articles being published by clinical professionals, researchers and educational institutions talking about drug innovations. We are in a position where we are talking about extending the lifespan of people, which already is an impressive 80-90 years in developed nations. Governments also encourage companies to innovate in healthcare more and more.
Recently, there have been some key trends and innovations emerging in the pharmaceutical space. Such innovations are extremely important at a time when millions of Americans are increasingly being diagnosed with respiratory diseases. Here we look at some of them and analyze the possibilities and potential that they bring to us.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Vertex pharmaceutical’s new drug in February 2018 to combat Cystic Fibrosis and to aid in its treatment. Vertex estimates that the drug, in combination with other recommended treatment, should solve up to 90% of the cases leading to serious lung infections. Clinical trials have been positive so far, and the drug is already in the market.
The FDA also approved in 2017 a drug developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, that is basically a programmed antibody that fights against two different types of diseases. These diseases are urothelial carcinoma, a cancer type that develops in our urinary systems, and late-stage non-small cell lung cancer. The company has admitted upfront that it will be a work-in-progress due to the numerous number of side-effects the drug will currently have.
GlaxoSmithKline, the European pharmaceutical giant, also came up with its own solution in 2017 that was approved by the FDA. This one is probably the one we are most excited about here in the US, as it is a cure for a disease affecting 15 million Americans – COPD. In addition, the European Medicines Agency has also recommended this inhaler.
While these are exciting developments, there remain barriers to research and development in the respiratory domain. Respiratory medicine apparently has the lowest number of approved and validated therapies compared to the more mainstream areas of cardiovascular and neurological medicine. The pace of drug development is also not sufficient enough.
The main inhibitors are currently low efficiencies, drug attrition, high capital and consequently relatively less incentive to innovate. Obviously, this is not a competition between areas of medicine. However, it is important to keep in mind that respiratory diseases have amongst the highest number of casualties and there should be a greater effort to solve them.