N.J. companies developing 16 asthma drugs
New Jersey companies are responsible for one in five of the asthma medications currently in development in the U.S.
A total of 74 asthma drugs are working through pharmaceutical-company pipelines at the moment, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Of those, 16 are being developed by New Jersey companies, with East Hanover-based Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Whitehouse Station-based Merck & Co. leading the way. Novartis has six asthma drugs in development. Merck has five.
In a statement, PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani noted spring can be a particularly troublesome time for patients suffering from the sometimes life-threatening condition.
“The good news is that potential treatments highlighted in this report offer asthma sufferers new hope of living healthier, more productive lives,” he said.
According to the report, 24.6 million Americans (including 7.1 million children) had asthma in 2009. The disease costs the U.S. economy some $56 billion each year in direct and indirect costs, PhRMA said.
A typical drug can take 10-15 years to develop, at a cost of more than $1 billion. And while 74 potential drugs might seem like a high number, the reality is most compounds that enter clinical trials won’t make it to human testing, the group noted. Of those that do, only one in five are eventually approved by the Food and Drug Administration.