IPF is a chronic, relentlessly progressive fibrotic disorder of the lungs that typically affects adults over the age of 40. In 2018, 232,000 patients were diagnosed with IPF in the U.S., EU5 and Japan,1Sources: Decision Resources Group, Global Data, Galapagos Custom Research and this population is expected to grow, in part thanks to improved diagnosis. Furthermore, prevalence is expected to increase with the aging population and worsening air pollution. The clinical prognosis of patients with IPF is poor, as the median survival at diagnosis is two to four years. Currently, no therapies have been found to cure or stop the progression of IPF. The current treatment strategy aims to slow disease progression and improve quality of life. Lung transplantation may be an option for appropriate patients with progressive disease and minimal comorbidities.
Regulatory agencies have approved Esbriet (marketed by Roche/Genentech) and Ofev (marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim) for the treatment of mild to moderate IPF. Both Esbriet and Ofev have been shown to slow the rate of functional decline in IPF and are gaining ground as the standard of care worldwide. Combined sales of both drugs reached $2.1 billion in 2018.2Sales figures from Roche (pirfenidone; Esbriet®) and Boehringer Ingelheim (nintedanib; Ofev®) These regulatory approvals represent a major breakthrough for IPF patients; yet neither drug stops the decline in lung function, and the disease in most patients on these therapies continues to progress. Moreover, the adverse effects associated with these therapies are considerable (e.g., diarrhea and liver function test abnormalities with Ofev; nausea and rash with Esbriet). Therefore, there is still a large unmet medical need as IPF remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality.
We estimate that the market of approved IPF drugs could grow to $5 billion by 2025.
1 Source: Decision Resources Group, Global Data, Galapagos Custom Research
2 Sales figures from Roche (pirfenidone; Esbriet®) and Boehringer Ingelheim (nintedanib; Ofev®)