Autism and Mid-2018 Reviews

NI Research has released the July/August 2018 issue of  NeuroPerspective.  Its two review sections provide a mid-year review of the neurotherapeutics sector, including succinct summaries for over 80 companies in the neuro-space, and a comprehensive review of Autism.

At midyear 2018, the neuro space has been impressively resilient in terms of partnering and funding, with 2018 on pace to eclipse 2015 as the best year in the 2004-present period for both. Investment trends continue on-track, with partners ardently pursuing disease-modifiers in neurodegeneration, institutional investors taking a somewhat more conservative and diversified course amongst the four major therapeutic supra-classes, though Psychiatry is making something of a comeback. There have been impressive clinical datasets, from Roche-PTC Therapeutics and Roche-Ionis, to name two, and more ambiguous, arguably disappointing results, such as those from JNJ on esketamine. The CGRP premise has advanced in migraine, both  its injectable and oral constituents, but the search for nonopioid analgesics to supplant the traditional but highly problematic opioid standards has been a challenging one. AbbVie and Biogen exemplify two large companies making substantial and creative investments in neuroscience while Pfizer’s retreat into venture funding, and Teva’s vaporization of its nascent neuro R&D programming, are embarrassments.

The therapeutic area reviewed in full is Autism, the one major disorder that is showing a distinct increase in its prevalence rate. It is the domain where genotyping and digitally-enhanced  phenotyping are being combined to provide improved, validated parsing of what is otherwise an enormous but heterogeneous population. It is also the context where novel mechanistic approaches, from the vasopressin-oxytocin axis to the burgeoning area of gut-brain microbiome disruption, may make their mark first.

The Autism review includes programs from Roche, Servier, Azevan, Neuren, Simons Foundation, as well as numerous academic research programs, and features a capsule review of Axial BioTherapeutics.