Far from static, the diabetes market place appears quite dynamic with new innovations and challenges to the status quo currently in development. From new formats to new drugs and superior delivery/dosing options.
There is considerable activity across the industry in the push to provide solutions that can control and stabilise this disease.
Yet, diabetes control is still an unmet need with massive potential, a global problem compounded by the fact that some large markets are currently not fully diagnosed or receiving adequate treatment. A report in 2012 revealed that China has the world’s largest diabetes population of 92 million with a significant number of people thought to be undiagnosed.
The debate about the best treatment cascade continues, largely driven by the 2 main players NovoNordisk and Sanofi, focusing on earlier use of long-acting insulin, increased use of GLP-1 analogues and new/better combinations of insulins or insulins and GLP-1s.
Recent launches include the GLP-1s Victoza and Lyxumia respectively. Combination treatments are not far behind and will bring increased benefits and options, providing better control and disease management.
The short term is also likely to see continued advances in traditional delivery methods; finer needles, pain free injections, fewer doses, increased convenience, more tailored/accurate dosing and measuring. Continued investment and visible results will re-enforce the development of newer and better insulins, GLP-1s and superior combination products with more focused benefits for the patient.
Novel modes of action including SGLT2 inhibitors that work by inhibiting a protein in the kidneys that allows glucose re-absorption into the bloodstream without increasing insulin secretion. They are distinct from other diabetes treatments as they work independently of insulin.
The development of biosimilar drugs as a number of long-established insulin products come off patent.
Alternative approaches such as Janssen’s portfolio of small molecules and biologics designed to regenerate insulin producing beta cells, hoping to target the cause rather than symptoms of the disease.
Long term innovations may see an increase of diverse modes of delivery from oral to inhaled powder. Despite the failure of Exubera other developments in this area include Afrezza. Not forgetting the potential for existing drugs to extend their lifecycle through successful transition into other treatment areas (such as anti-obesity).
Therefore, now more than ever, launching with a strong, distinctive brand within this area has become essential in order to create differentiation in the mind of the patient as well as the physician.