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Executive Summary

PARKINSON's DISEASE SYMPTOMATIC TREATMENT MARKETS are attractive targets for central nervous system research, Wilkerson Group VP Robert Easton indicated at an April 17 symposium co-sponsored by Frost & Sullivan and the National Pharmaceutical Council. Maintaining that a cure for the disease could generate $4-$5 bil. annually, Easton pointed out that drugs for the symptoms of the disease also offer attractive product development opportunities: "A drug that fixed the freezing problem [where a patient cannot move his feet] or the very specific urinary incontinence problem of Parkinson's patients would be worth a couple of hundred million dollars per year," he said. Parkinson's is among numerous diseases or conditions in the central nervous system area where there is either no therapy or the existing therapy is "not very good," Easton said. The unmet need, he suggested, makes that area a fertile research area. Easton outlined 14 CNS-related disorders with a total theoretical annual U.S. market potential (at manufacturer level) of roughly $16 bil., ranging from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) at $25 mil. to Alzheimer's disease at $6 bil. Among the other conditions with estimated market potentials above $1 bil. per year are eating disorders, mood disorders, Parkinson's, sleep dysfunction, anxiety disorders, and stroke. The market potentials, Easton noted, are based on "a very conservative pricing model." For example, he said, the $25 mil. figure for an ALS therapy "is based on what I'd call 'namby pamby' pharmaceutical pricing," charging $1,500/year/patient. "If you really price to value, which I urge and recommend all of you to do, and which I think Wellcome has shown us to do [with AZT] and Genentech [with TPA], instead of being a $25 mil. drug growing to $90 mil. [in 10 years], it would be a $80 mil. drug growing to about a quarter of a billion dollars." The Wilkerson Group exec identified several products with an unmet therapeutic need and promising ongoing research, yet relatively low competition, including: excitatory amino acids and opioid peptides for stroke; neuropeptides for Alzheimer's; and neuropeptides for eating disorders. Other promising areas with slightly greater competitive intensity include excitatory amino acids for epilepsy and Alzheimer's and serotonin for eating disorders. The Wilkerson Group recently issued a report entitled The Challenge of Neuroscience: Clinical Perspectives and Commercial Prospects. Chart omitted.

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