Obesity market set for explosive growth, says report

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The market for obesity treatments will grow five-fold by 2016, according to research firm Decision Resources.

The category, worth an estimated $478 million in 2006, will grow to $2.7 billion by 2016 in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan, the firm projected. Growth will be most rapid in the US, where sales will increase from $222 million in 2006 to nearly $2 billion in 2016.

Market growth will be fueled by a number of emerging therapies, the report said, including Arena Pharmaceuticals' lorcaserin and Amylin's pramlintide/leptin combo, expected to launch in major markets by 2011. The report anticipates 80% of the market switching to those and other therapies with novel mechanisms of action. However, the study's authors, citing the case of Sanofi-Aventis' Acomplia (rimonabant), caution that FDA's wariness toward new drugs in the category could slow growth and note that similar safety concerns could plague Merck's taranabant and Pfizer's CP-945598, which belong to the same drug class as rimonabant.

“Given the high prevalence of obesity in the world's major pharmaceutical markets, the opportunity for agents that fulfill the need for safe, effective and well-tolerated weight loss therapies is significant,” said Donny Wong, PhD., principal analyst at Decision Resources. “Although the most efficacious emerging obesity drugs are combination therapies with multiple mechanisms of action, most of the late-stage therapies in development lack blockbuster potential because they are either associated with safety concerns or are available only in inconvenient injectible formulations.”
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