Challenges and Opportunities in Developing Neurologic Therapies

Challenges and Opportunities in Developing Neurologic Therapies Need for Neurologic Disease Therapies Neurologic diseases include more than 600 conditions affecting approximately one billion people worldwide (WHO, 2006). Certain diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, disproportionately affect aging populations. Other conditions, such as migraine, epilepsy, stroke, and traumatic brain injury affect people of all ages. Autism, cerebral palsy, and Tourette syndrome are commonly diagnosed early in life (Hirtz, 2007). Because of the aging of the population, rates of neurologic disorders are expected to dramatically rise in the coming decades (Albert, 2007). Forecasts suggest that 10 million individuals will be diagnosed with Alzheimer disease by 2050 and that 6 million of these patients will suffer from moderate or severe dementia (Albert, 2007). The number of individuals with Parkinson disease worldwide is likely to double from 4.6 million in 2005 to 9.3 million by 2030 (Dorsey, 2007). For neurologic disorders that are chronic and progressive, patients require a great deal of healthcare support. Many patients endure repeated hospitalizations and have an ongoing need for assistive devices and rehabilitative services (Albert, 2007; WHO, 2006). Patients can suffer through years of diminished quality of life and productivity (Albert, 2007; DCPP, 2006; WHO, 2006). Despite the significant and growing burden of neurologic conditions, in recent years approvals for new drugs have been rare (Kaitin, 2010; Pangalos, 2007). In any therapeutic area, new drug development is a long, expensive process involving many players and organizations. Recent estimates suggest that the cost of bringing a new drug to market can be as high as $1.3 billion (Honig, 2010). Yet overall success rates for drug approvals are only 16% to 19%, and the rate reported for neurologic indication is only 8% (DiMasi, 2010)