Growing Efforts Against TB May Offer Opportunity

November 20, 2001

The market for tuberculosis (TB) treatments will grow from between $412.5 and $470.5 million currently to between $612 and $670 million by 2010. Some of the market will be captured by generics, leaving between $316 million and $432 million on the table for a new innovator anti-TB drug introduced in 2010.

Most large drug makers, however, tend to focus on markets with greater sales potential, according to a study by the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development. Therefore, the non-profit organization noted there is a "low likelihood of a single industry player pursuing the development of an anti-TB drug."

Instead, the study advocated partnerships between government and industry to research existing compounds with the potential to treat TB. "We believe scientific and research activity has yielded a handful of compounds that have not yet moved off the shelf because the market was misunderstood [underestimated] or was too modest for large firms to invest," said Giorgio Roscigno, director of strategic development.

Shorter treatment regimens are a likely area for expansion, "as well as [products to] treat multidrug-resistant strains," said Maria Freire, chief executive officer of the Global Alliance. Existing treatments last six to nine months, and many patients are unable to complete such a long regimen, she said.

Private providers include traditional pharmacies and hospitals, as opposed to governments and international donors. According to IMS Health, the global private market in 2000 was nearly $275 million. However, data were available for only 11 of the 23 countries with a high TB burden. If data for the other 12 countries were available, the total private market for anti-TB drugs might reach $318 million, the study said.

The private market will remain roughly level over the next decade. However, the public market is expected to grow
due to recent initiatives to improve access, including establishment of the Global Fund for AIDS and Health in July 2001, which also aims to tackle other infectious diseases, including TB, and the Group of Eight nations' July 2000 commitment to work toward achieving a 50 percent reduction in TB deaths by 2010.

In addition, more public funding for TB research is being made available by the National Institutes of Health as well as European health authorities. Drug makers may be able to capitalize on such research, suggested John Horton, GlaxoSmithKline's director of clinical strategy for diseases of the developing world.