The active pain pipeline is populated by 796 products across all stages of development, which exhibit a highly diverse range of molecular targets. GBI Research’s analyses identified 122 first-in-class programs in active development, constituting 13.6% of the pipeline and acting on 65 first-in-class molecular targets, indicating a high degree of innovation. This is in stark contrast to the pain therapeutics market, which has been largely characterized by only incremental product innovation over the last decade, as most market segments continue to be dominated by long-established active pharmaceutical ingredients and the concomitant mechanisms of action.
Moderate-to-severe pain continues to be dominated by opioids that are increasingly being reformulated to offer abuse-resistance, while mild pain is effectively treated with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID). However, significant unmet needs remain, as chronic pain and some neuropathic pain subtypes do not respond well to existing therapies, which are not adequate to treat associated hypersensitization and do not align to the underlying molecular pathophysiological profile.
Despite being mostly distributed in the early stages of development, first-in-class innovation is particularly concentrated on novel molecular targets that are aligned to the central sensitization associated with neuropathic pain, which is arguably the most debilitating and difficult-to-treat type of chronic pain. This gives them the potential to transform the future market by expanding the range of drug classes.
In addition, GBI Research’s comprehensive and complementary analysis of granted patents highlighted a significant number of first-in-class product technologies, many of which have not been identified in the pain product pipelines or even in pipelines across the industry. The distribution of these products across the molecular target superfamilies and families highlighted that they predominantly align with the proportional distribution observed across the pain pipeline, with G-protein-coupled receptors and enzymes inhibitors constituting the two major categories. However, an array of novel molecular targets within those groups has been identified, which do not present in any pipeline or marketed products across the industry. A significant degree of innovation has also been identified in other molecular target categories.
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However, an array of novel molecular targets within those groups has been identified, which do not present in any pipeline or marketed products across the industry. A significant degree of innovation has also been identified in other molecular target categories.
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