The global Alzheimer’s disease (AD) market is expected to increase from $2.9bn in 2016 to $14.8bn, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5%, according to a report by GlobalData.

Titled ‘PharmaPoint: Alzheimer’s Disease – Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2026’, the report covers the seven major markets of the US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

The introduction of 20 new drug candidates will be the major growth driver. These drugs, which include aducanumab, gantenerumab and crenezumab, have demonstrated the potential to either prevent or slow down the progression of AD.

The prevalence of AD, which is characterised by impaired memory or dementia and functional decline, is growing rapidly worldwide.

Developing a curative treatment for the disease remains to be one of the biggest unmet needs in the market.

“The prevalence of AD, which is characterised by impaired memory or dementia and functional decline, is growing rapidly worldwide.”

Accurate diagnostic tests, biomarkers for testing treatment response, and improved control of the primary cognitive symptoms are the other unmet needs.

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Currently available treatment options for AD provide symptomatic benefit due to the pathology of the disease, states Akiko Fukui, Neurology and Ophthalmology Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData.

A more diverse set of treatment options to slow or prevent cognitive symptoms or agitation related to dementia will help in fulfilling the biggest unmet needs in the market. Research and development (R&D) in AD, however, has proven to be a challenge for pharmaceutical companies as multiple late-stage candidates have failed to meet the primary measures of efficacy.

To reduce the risks associated with development, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on in-house products or forming partnerships with specialised firms to develop novel drug candidates, Fukui adds.