Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a relatively rare autoimmune disorder in which antibodies are formed against acetylcholine nicotinic postsynaptic receptors at the neuromuscular junction of skeletal muscles. This leads to weakness in the skeletal muscles, which are responsible for breathing, and moving parts of the body, including arms and legs. The disorder can occur at any age. Female incidence peaks in the third decade of life, whereas male incidence peaks in the sixth or seventh decade. The mean age of the onset is 28 years in females and 42 years in males. The treatment of myasthenia gravis focuses on the symptom management. There is no cure for the disorder, but the available therapies can control the symptoms and allow people to have a quality life.
Currently, the global myasthenia gravis market stands at a small size due to limited availability of approved therapies for complete remission of the disease. However, anticipated approval of novel monoclonal antibodies has created scope for a strong market growth during the forecast period. Apart from advancements in technology, rising prevalence of the disease and increasing geriatric population with poor immunity are drivers which are projected to boost the market growth. However, high cost and side effects of drugs and therapies investments in research and development are restraining factors of the growth of the market.
The global myasthenia gravis market is segmented by type of therapy and region. Based on type of therapy, the market is classified as medication, thymus gland removal (thymectomy), plasma exchange (plasmapheresis), immunomodulators, and intravenous immunoglobulin. Conventional therapies such as acetylcholine esterase inhibitors, corticosteroids, and immunomodulators are associated with high side effects as they are not target specific. About 10% of patients are presently refractory to treatments and are in urgent need for novel treatment modalities. Hence, the demand for target specific monoclonal antibodies is increasing. For instance, the monoclonal antibody Soliris (eculizumab), by Alexion Pharmaceuticals which is under phase III of clinical trials, is expected to be a blockbuster drug. This drug acts by inhibiting complement cascade at such a point that normal diseases preventing functions of proximal complement system are largely preserved. Other drugs in the pipeline include CFZ-533 (Novartis) and Benlysta (GlaxoSmithKline). Improved understanding about the structure and function of the neuromuscular junction, fundamental aspects of the thymus gland and autoimmunity, and the disorder itself is encouraging researchers to develop effective and safe therapies. Technological advances have led to more timely and accurate diagnosis of myasthenia gravis, and new and enhanced therapies have improved treatment options. These two factors are projected to boost the growth of the market significantly. Recent trends in the market are emergence of new entrants, growing strategic acquisitions, and potential treatment options.
Geographically, the global myasthenia gravis market is distributed over North America, Europe,Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & Africa. Europe is dominating the market with high incidence cases reported in Denmark, Norway, and Estonia. It is followed by North America and some parts of Asia Pacific such as China and Japan. According to Wiley Online Library, the annual incidence of myasthenia gravis is estimated at 3 to 30 per million population globally. The incidence rates have increased over time due to greater disease awareness and better diagnostic methods. The prevalence of the disease is reported to be approximately 200 per million population now as compared to about 5 per million population between 1915 and 1934. This increase can be explained by rise in aging population, better detection of the antibodies to postsynaptic proteins, and longer survival from treatment advances.
Key players operating in this market are Flamel Technologies, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Grifols, Pfizer, Shire, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, CSL, Curavac, Cytokinetics, Galencia, GlaxoSmithKline, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, and Novartis.
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