DecisionBase PDF Reports

January 2009

Atopic Dermatitis: A Market with Well-Established First-Line Agents Still Needs a Safe Maintenance Therapy


Atopic dermatitis (AD) affects more than 50 million people (mostly children) in the seven major markets covered. AD represents a large market dominated by the inexpensive and effective topical corticosteroids (TCSs). Opportunity for drug developers lies in the second-line market, especially for agents that offer enhanced tolerability, safety, and convenience over the topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs). The pipeline for new AD therapies remains sparse, and none of the drugs in development is likely to fully address the remaining unmet needs for safer maintenance and preventative therapies or effective therapies with fewer side effects than TCSs.

Questions Answered in This Report:

  *   Despite the potential launch of several emerging therapies in the atopic dermatitis market over our ten-year study period, high and super-high potency TCSs will remain the gold-standard therapies in our drug comparator model. On what measures do emerging therapies fall short of the standard established by TCSs? What attributes would allow a new therapy to capitalize on the weaknesses of TCSs?

  *   Pimecrolimus is the 2007 major-market sales leader for atopic dermatitis. A favorable safety profile makes pimecrolimus an attractive second-line option for physicians treating the substantial atopic dermatitis pediatric population. How can new therapies capture a significant patient share among second-line agents? Which emerging therapies are the most promising in this regard?

  *   Despite a market crowded with effective first-line therapies, atopic dermatitis faces an unmet need in preventive and maintenance care. The market lacks a safe therapy that can effectively treat severe, relapsing disease. How well does the orally formulated novel agent alitretinoin (Basilea’s Toctino) address this need? Is there significant sales potential for another drug that addresses the same need?


Key drug development opportunity tested in our target product profiles for atopic dermatitis: A topical agent with a novel mechanism of action.

Physicians surveyed for this study: 60 U.S. and 30 European dermatologists.

Comprehensive List of Therapies Included in Our Research and Modeling

Current therapies:

- Pimecrolimus (Novartis’s Elidel)

- Tacrolimus (Astellas’s Protopic)

- Low-potency topical corticosteroids (multiple)

- Intermediate-potency topical corticosteroids (multiple)

- High and super-high potency topical corticosteroids (multiple)

Emerging therapies:

- Transcription Factor Therapeutics/Meyer/AnGes/Alfresa’s MP-40

- Transcription Factor Therapeutics’ Avrina

- Alitretinoin (Basilea’s Toctino)

About DecisionBase

Atopic Dermatitis--A Market with Well-Established First-Line Agents Still Needs a Safe Maintenance Therapy is a DecisionBase 2009 study from Decision Resources. DecisionBase 2009 combines market forecasts with clinical and commercial end points to assess market share projections in 35 indications. These outputs are driven by quantitative and qualitative primary research. DecisionBase 2009 provides detailed market share, patient share, and price-per-day projections for emerging drugs in development. The market share projections are based on prescriber surveys that compare physicians’ expectations of a potential target product profile with an emerging product profile of the leading drugs in development.

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