Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder that is expected to affect more than one million people in the UK alone by 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and affects one in ten people over the age of 65 (Alzheimer’s Association). The demand for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease treatments is likely to increase as populations continue to age.

Figure 1 shows the number companies with a pipeline drug for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the past five years.

Figure 1: companies with pipeline drugs in Alzheimer's disease and dementia from 2012-2016

Source: GlobalData, Pharma Intelligence Center, Deals Database [Accessed August, 2017]

The number of pipeline dementia and Alzheimer’s drugs has remained relatively constant since 2012, with the exception of 2013 when the total number doubled. Despite this increase, the proportion of drug types between all dementia drugs, dementia drugs associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease drugs has remained the same across the five years.

The number of dementia drugs associated with Alzheimer’s disease made up only a small proportion of the total number of Alzheimer’s disease drugs. This suggests the majority of drugs for Alzheimer’s disease are focusing on its other symptoms.

In recent years, the number of Alzheimer’s related dementia drugs has fallen, whereas companies developing drugs for other types of dementia has increased.

Figure 2 shows the breakdown of dementia drugs by indication.

Figure 2: Companies with dementia pipeline drugs from 2012-2016

Source: GlobalData, Pharma Intelligence Center, Deals Database [Accessed August, 2017]

Alzheimer’s disease dominated dementia drugs in 2012 and 2013. However, these numbers have dropped since 2014 and have been superseded by Lowy body dementia, AIDS-associated dementia and vascular dementia. This is unexpected as it is the most prevalent form of dementia.

Therefore, there is an evident gap in drug development for Alzheimer’s disease-associated dementia.