PhRMA's COPD pipeline report spotlights blockbuster hopefuls

Anyone looking for a basic primer on experimental COPD drugs should check out PhRMA's latest compilation of new drugs in the pipeline. The big trade group found 54 COPD studies underway, which include trials for some of the biggest potential blockbusters nearing an FDA decision. But be prepared to do some digging if you want to find out what's really happening here.

For PhRMA, which mistakenly categorized everything in clinical development as distinct, late-stage treatments, some of the highlights in the report include an adult stem cell therapy, an IL-1 receptor-targeted antibody and a therapy that zeroes in on inflammation related to COPD. Their success could help reduce the nearly $50 billion annual tab for treating the disease.

Dig down into the report and you'll find eight Phase III studies underway. That includes Relovair, a new drug from GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Theravance ($THRX), which chilled analysts with mixed data recently, and Novartis' ($NVS) potential giant slayer QVA149, which has run into dosage issues in the U.S. Pearl Therapeutics, a 2011 Fierce 15 company, is in the race now that it is wrapping an ambitious mid-stage program.

Elevation and Osiris are also focused on Phase II. Osiris's Prochymal, the stem cell treatment noted by PhRMA, hasn't performed very well. In an update, Osiris recently noted that the treatment had failed to outperform a placebo after a year of treatment.

- here's the press release
- read the full report (.pdf)