By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN
18 months ago, Next Phase took a look into assets under development in the neurology space. Revisiting that sector now, we see some fields moving ahead in spite of the great challenges involved in the development of neurology assets.
Drawing on a sample from the LSN Company Platform of assets under development worldwide, we can take a look at the top areas in both diseases of the nervous system and in mental and behavioral disorders. In diseases of the nervous system, this sample includes 647 assets, of which 464 relate to a specific clinical area, as shown in Figure 1 below:
Alzheimer’s disease remains the field with the most assets under development, in spite of continuing setbacks in late-stage trials. However, among other top areas of neurology, Parkinson’s disease has undergone market pipeline growth, overtaking MS to become the second largest developmental pipeline in neurology. With large pharma companies taking increasing interest in Parkinson’s disease, we can expect significant competition in the future if these programs are successful. We also see a substantial increase in development of treatments for neuropathies. This may reflect the increasing rate of diabetes, a major population health concern that has attracted the interest of scientists and investors.
There remain many rare neurological diseases in which few cures are under development; however, there are now treatments under development for two of these rare diseases that we highlighted previously as having no potential cures within our data sample, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and Steinert disease. Given the strong investor interest in drugs that qualify for orphan designation, we hope to see treatments entering the clinic in the future in other rare neurological conditions.
In the field of mental and behavioral disorders, the LSN Company Platform sample includes 146 drug assets. Schizophrenia and depression remain the most crowded pipeline areas; however, there are an increasing number of drugs under development to treat addictions.
We still see new neurology therapeutics being developed by startup companies worldwide. The US remains dominant in neurology innovation, but China has seen an increase in neurology innovation. Figure 3 below shows the top 10 countries for clinical stage neurology assets.
In spite of the well-known challenges in the sector, there remains significant investor appetite for neurology therapeutics, with investors chasing potential blockbusters in disorders that currently have few or no treatment options, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The LSN Investor Platform now includes detailed mandate information from 362 investors that are interested in clinical stage assets in neurology. 150 of these investors are looking globally for deals, and others are looking in several different regions. The below chart shows the number of investors we’ve contacted who are looking for deals in each region:
Neurology remains a very active area for therapeutic development, with many severe diseases, some of them widespread, currently lacking any disease-modifying treatments. However, there are well known difficulties in bringing a product to market in neurology, including the difficulty in identifying the right patient populations for late stage trials. LSN will be tracking these assets through the pipeline, and will continue to reach out to investors who are focused on the future possibilities in neurology.