The recent approval of Hua’s first-in-class diabetes drug in China in collaboration with Bayer puts an end to a decade-long wait for molecules with a new mechanism of action, as well as marked the initiation of international partnerships by domestic companies for T2D market in China, says GlobalData, a leading data, and analytics company. China has the world’s highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) population.
According to GlobalData’s ‘Pharmaceutical Intelligence Center,’ China showed the highest prevalence of diagnosed T2D cases among the 16 major markets (16MM), with a higher prevalence in women (6.7%) than in men (6%) in 2022. The population between 40 and 80 years is most expected to see a rise in diagnosed cases at an annual growth rate of 3.3% from 6 million in 2022 to 6.7 million in 2028.
Atulana Dey, Pharma analyst at GlobalData, said: “Over the past few decades, China has witnessed a steep rise in T2D patients, majorly owing to a greater percentage of geriatric population, sedentary lifestyle and poor living choices such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol that elevates the body’s sugar levels.”
The current treatment options for T2D in China are well established with the popular class of drugs being DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 analogs and recombinant proteins such as insulins. Global giants such as Bayer, Boehringer, Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Xian-Janssen, Merck, Novartis, Tianjin Tanabe, Takeda and Hua rule the present anti-diabetic market in China.
Dey said, “Chinese firms are quickly catching up with the majority of the late-stage pipeline drugs being developed by domestic companies such as Sihuan Pharmaceutical, Tonghua Dongbao, ConjuChem, Shanghai Innogen, CSPC Pharmaceutical and Jiangsu HengRui Medicine.
“Unlike the Chinese oncology market where the research, development and commercialization of the home-grown molecules have expedited massively over the last few years owing to the multiple strategic alliances between the multi-national and local companies, the diabetes market falls short of such advantages since no such trend has been observed until recently.”
Against this backdrop, Hua’s first-in-class glucokinase activator (GKA) dorzagliatin (HuaTangNing), an anti-diabetic drug with a new mechanism of action, was approved by NMDA in October 2022 for uncontrolled T2D in China. Hua’s partnership with Bayer for the commercialization of the drug and with state-owned Sinopharm for local distribution might be a step towards setting the trend.
Dey concludes: “With T2D being the major growth driver for China’s pharmaceutical market along with a rapid rise in the number of diagnosed cases, global companies should take this opportunity to forge strategic partnerships and commercial alliances with the domestic companies not only to create more visibility and access for the home-grown products to the population but also gain an advantage by utilizing the local resources to build, commercialize and market the products in China.”
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