Improved treatment options to cover unmet needs of rheumatoid arthritis patients can be provided by first-in-class product innovation, states a new report from GBI Research.

Titled 'Frontier Pharma: Rheumatoid Arthritis – Cytokine Mediators and Kinase Inhibitors Dominate First-in-Class Product Innovation', the report claims that serious unmet needs of rheumatoid arthritis patients provide number of opportunities for future drug developments.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an untreatable condition with no specific therapeutics available to restore bone content and reduce cartilage degradation. Safety is a major concern with the current treatment options, which increase infection due to immunosuppression.

Patients often develop resistance to these first-line and second-line therapies. Biologics currently available in the market require intravenous or subcutaneous administration, which is painful for patients.

"First-in-class products can lead to therapeutic advances, according to GBI Research analyst Fiona Chisholm."

There are 454 products currently in pipeline for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, but the proportion of first-in-class products is quite low. The proportion of first-in-class molecular targets in the initial development stages, however, is higher.

First-in-class products can lead to therapeutic advances, according to GBI Research analyst Fiona Chisholm.

The current development pipeline includes cytokine and cytokine receptors, as well as protein kinases, which target mediators that underlie inflammatory and adaptive immune responses. These treatment options are mostly biologic therapies able to address the unmet needs of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Although encouraging, the development of first-in-class products has its own challenges due to lack of first-in-class targets within advanced developed stages, which indicates that the therapeutic market for rheumatoid arthritis will be dominated by existing marketed products, commented Fiona Chisholm.