Three Korean treatments were included in 537 innovative drug candidates for neurological disorders in a report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
The three pipelines are ViroMed’s VM202 for diabetic neuropathy, Api Meds’ Apitox for autoimmune diseases, and Nature Cell’s stem cell therapy AstroStem for Alzheimer’s disease.
“The 537 medicines in development represent a heightened understanding of the underlying mechanisms of neurological disorders,” said Andrew Powaleny, director of public affairs at PhRMA, on the association’s website on Wednesday.
Among the three investigational drugs developed in the U.S. by Korean firms, VM202 and Apitox are in the phase-3 clinical stage, and AstroStem, phase-1/2,
ViroMed’s VM202, which is in phase-3 for diabetic neuropathy in the U.S., obtained fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and phase-2 approval as a potential treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Api Meds, a biopharma unit of Inscobee, has completed phase-4 trials for alleviating inflammation and pain from chronic arthritis and treating autoimmune diseases. The drug is expected to be listed as a novel drug soon.
“As the number of Americans aged 65 and over is projected to nearly double from 45.1 million in 2011 to 88.7 million in 2050, the cost of neurological disorders is likely to rise. It is more important than ever to find new treatments,” Powaleny said.
He went on to say that there were 537 medicines in development for numerous, wide-ranging neurological disorders by America’s biopharmaceutical companies.
“Innovative research drives the development of these groundbreaking treatments by giving scientists an enhanced understanding of the nervous system at the molecular and genetic levels,” he said. “A recent report found that 74 percent of medicines in the biopharmaceutical pipeline for neurological disorders are potential ‘first-in-class.’”
According to Powaleny, Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.5 million people in the U.S.; chronic pain, 25 million; Parkinson’s disease, 1 million; epilepsy, 2.2 million; Rett syndrome (a rare neurological disorder that affects brain development), one in 10,000 people; multiple sclerosis, 400,000; migraine headache, 39 million; stroke, 795,000; and ALS, 20,000.