CSL is setting its sights on the US$21.6 billion (AU$33.54 billion) asthma market with the development of a groundbreaking drug designed to combat a lung inflammation that primarily triggers the chronic respiratory condition.
The introduction of this therapy, named trabikibart or CSL311, is poised to position CSL as a household name, especially since over 10 percent of Australia’s population, equivalent to 2.7 million individuals, grapple with asthma.
With the new drug, asthma patients may significantly reduce their dependence on traditional steroid therapies typically administered through inhalers and avoid complications ranging from impaired growth in children to cataracts.
CSL’s chief scientific officer Andrew Nash said that the company aims to deliver more personalised treatment to more severe uncontrolled asthma patients, as compared to the more conventional approach.
“There are subsets of asthma that are still treated equally poorly, and that’s what we are aiming at here.”
The biotechnology company announced the development of the recombinant monoclonal antibody in 2019 but could only push it through now after the COVID-19 pandemic-induced delay in recruiting patients to participate in the trial.
CSL is in partnership with SA Pathology’s Centre for Cancer Biology in developing CSL311, which should pass three phases of clinical trials and secure regulatory approval before it can be commercially available.
“Asthma is an inflammatory disease, which means there are cells in the blood that attack the body, and in asthma, the part of the body these cells are attacking is the lungs. The reason they attack the lung is that they’re revved up, super activated and really nasty, as well as a little bit blind—hurting ourselves,” Angel Lopez of SA Pathology said.
“This antibody switches them off—it effectively applies the brakes. The cells are still there, we’re not wiping them out because if you do, you might facilitate infection, but they are better controlled and less revved up.”
Global Asthma Market to Boom
In July 2023, Acumen Research and Consulting forecasted a boom in the global asthma therapeutics market due to rising cases of the ailment and the increasing demand for targeted biologic drugs.
The market intelligence provider said that the total valuation of the global asthma therapeutics market is expected to hit US$30.6 billion in 2032 from US$21.6 billion in 2022, although patent expiries and generic competition would remain key challenges.
“The growing pediatric population highly susceptible to developing asthma as well as the rising geriatric population is key demographic factors fueling market growth,” the company said.
“Moreover, the introduction of targeted novel mechanism monoclonal antibody drugs and increasing adoption of smart digital inhalers integrated with sensors and apps are major trends boosting the market outlook.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), asthma, which is often under-diagnosed and under-treated especially in low to middle-income countries, affected around 262 million people in 2019 and caused 455,000 deaths.