Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, and that number is projected to be 16 million by 2050. The number of people around the world with Alzheimer’s is expected to quadruple in the next 35 years.
Alzheimer’s disease is devastating for the patient and their caregivers as it represents a slow, progressive decrease over time in both memory and other intellectual abilities (i.e., cognitive decline). Because it directly affects the brain’s capacity to function, late-stage symptoms include behavior and mood changes, severe memory loss, and eventually difficulty swallowing, speaking, and walking.
The Alzheimer’s disease market is currently dominated by ‘symptomatic’ therapies that address only one facet of Alzheimer’s disease. These agents generally have modest, but temporary effects on cognitive and functional decline and do not affect the underlying course of the disease.
The market size for a product that can be effective in combating Alzheimer’s disease is massive. In Barron’s, “The Fight Against Alzheimer’s: Is Hope Near?” by Andrew Bary, he writes, “Some think a successful treatment or treatments for Alzheimer’s could generate $10 billion to $20 billion in annual revenue.”
Tim Anderson, a pharmaceutical analyst for Bernstein Research, stated, “If these Alzheimer’s drugs hit it big, they could become the next Lipitor.” In October 2011 Decision Resources, Inc. forecasts that “the Alzheimer’s disease drug market will nearly triple over the next ten years, increasing from $5.4 billion in 2010 to $14.3 billion in 2020 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. In 2012, cost of care in the US was projected to approach $200 billion.