Does MetrioPharm have competition?
When I get this question – which happens a lot – I usually answer: ‘Yes, MetrioPharm has competition. And then again, no, MetrioPharm has no competition.’
On the one hand, there are drugs for chronic inflammatory diseases already approved today, and our MP1032 will be competing with them. On the other hand, MP1032 will not have to compete with them and this has to do with one particular characteristic of our drug candidate:
MP1032 is so safe that we are developing it for use in early intervention. Patients will be able to take it as soon as the first signs of chronic inflammatory disease appear – ideally before the disease progresses further and becomes a life-changing burden. In our lead indication psoriasis, for example, no systemic, disease-modifying therapy has yet been approved for early forms and MetrioPharm is thus breaking new ground.
The majority of patients are unwilling and unable to receive early treatment with the available drugs. The side effects and health risks of the drugs currently available are too strong. In the early stages of a chronic disease, therefore, usually only the symptoms are covered by, for example, painkillers in arthritis. Only when the disease becomes so severe that the symptoms outweigh the potential side effects of immunosuppressive therapy do patients have access to treatment that potentially slows down or stops the progression of the disease.
Meanwhile, the scientific research field is in a very dynamic phase: large pharmaceutical companies have also begun an intensive search for drugs to be used in early intervention. They also want to treat chronic inflammatory diseases without serious side effects. This interest on the part of the big players shows us that we have the right assessment of the market. It validates our strategy. But can it also become a problem for us?
What if the labs of a major pharmaceutical company were to spit out an ideal drug candidate tomorrow?
After many years in drug development, this prospect is not very troubling for me. This is due to the specifics of pharmaceutical development. A new smartphone, for example, can be launched by a global technology company in less than a year. However, the testing phases for a new drug are strictly regulated and can hardly be accelerated even with a lot of money.
MetrioPharm now has a ten-year head start on the road to early intervention. Even with unlimited capital, the last eight years of this development could not be caught up with. So one could answer the initial question like this: the current competitive situation is ideal from MetrioPharm’s point of view.