Allergic diseases: allergies on the rise
Today, more than one billion people worldwide are affected by allergies. The number of people who suffer from allergies has risen continuously over the past 60 years, with higher incidence rates among children. By 2050, it is expected that 1 out of 2 people across the globe will suffer from allergies (source WAO Ambient air pollution Health impact).
A rapidly increasing prevalence
The increasing prevalence and intensity of allergies is a trend that has continued in the industrialised world for more than 60 years. Allergies currently affect over 13% of the world’s population, and an estimated 20 to 30% of the developed world. This trend is associated with urbanisation and changes in lifestyle, such as modern hygiene standards and reduced microbial exposure, as well as changing dietary habits. As these factors develop, allergies are expected to impact up to four billion people over the next three decades (source: Visiongain report 2018).
Too many patients don’t get therapy
Allergic rhinitis affects approximately 10% to 30% of adults and 40% of children(source World Allergy Organization). Only approximately 12% of people suffering from allergic rhinitis are treated with allergy immunotherapy (AIT) products due to low awareness among primary care prescribers, a complex treatment pathway and a market that is dominated by lower cost symptomatic treatments. AIT addresses the underlying cause of allergy and may provide both quick and long-lasting improvement of all symptoms, whereas symptomatic treatments (such as antihistamines and corticosteroids) temporarily relieve some allergy symptoms.
With a modest proposal rate, the AIT market is still underdeveloped, representing approximately €1bn or 12% of the global allergic rhinitis market, and is expected to grow by 2% annually in the coming years (source : Visiongain report 2018). The market growth is expected to result from an increased awareness of respiratory allergies, a simplified access to allergists, the expanded range of administration modes as well as a growing middle class in developing countries that will gain access to medical treatment.
Innovation in science and technology is creating new medical opportunities
Biologics, gene therapies and other new molecularly targeted compositions are starting to deliver on their promise to enable more precise diagnostics and tailored treatments. The development of more patient-friendly treatments (shorter treatment lengths, ease of use) should improve AIT penetration in the allergic rhinitis patient population and its adherence.
In addition, advances in the areas of genetics and informatics are driving a transformation in our understanding of the disease. Innovations in technology also present opportunities to more efficiently and effectively address the growing volume of regulatory requirements, particularly regarding more stringent manufacturing requirements.
Rise in allergies gaining attention from payers, providers and regulators
As more patients seek treatment for their allergies, the AIT industry has gained greater attention from the healthcare community. Healthcare providers are seeking more clinical evidence related to the safety and efficacy of AIT; payers are more tightly controlling access and increasingly requiring data about the economic benefit to maintain coverage for treatment; and regulatory bodies are increasing their scrutiny and enacting more stringent requirements of biologics manufacturers.