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3 Potential Game Changers for COPD

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Over 13 million Americans have it. More than 120,000 of them die every year. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, stands as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The National Institutes of Health says that COPD costs the nation almost $50 billion every year.

Good news for those suffering from COPD could be on the way, though. A new group of drugs should be coming that are more effective than past treatments. Here are three that could be game changers for this deadly disease.

1. Anoro
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) and Theravance (UNKNOWN: THRX.DL  ) gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration in May for COPD drug Breo Ellipta. However, the real excitement is over another drug that the two companies have in the wings -- Anoro.

Anoro combines a long-acting muscarinic antagonist, or LAMA, with a long-acting beta agonist, or LABA. LABAs relax the airway muscles, while LAMAs help minimize airway obstruction. Previously approved drugs have either been LAMAs or LABAs rather than both. The combination of the two makes Anoro highly anticipated.

Clinical studies found Anoro to be more effective than the currently most-prescribed COPD drug, Spiriva, which is marketed by Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) and Boehringer Ingelheim. Glaxo and Theravance submitted the drug for regulatory approval in the U.S. and in Europe, with an FDA decision expected by Dec. 18. Analysts expect that Anoro could generate sales of $1.4 billion annually.

2. QVA149
Should Anoro gain FDA approval, it might not hold the position as the only LABA/LAMA COPD drug on the market for long. Novartis (NYSE: NVS  ) isn't too far behind with its QVA149.

Novartis submitted QVA149 for approval in Europe and Japan last October. Regulatory filing in the U.S. is expected in 2014, with delays stemming from dosing issues.

As with Anoro, clinical studies found that QVA149 proved more effective at preventing overall COPD exacerbations than Spiriva. Novartis' drug did show numerical improvement over Spiriva in reducing moderate or severe exacerbations, but this improvement was not statistically significant.

Credit Suisse analysts project that QVA149 has around a 50/50 chance to reach peak annual sales of $750 million outside of the U.S. The analysts say that chances are slightly lower for the drug in hitting that level in the U.S.

3.  Olodaterol/Spiriva combo
Boehringer Ingelheim isn't sitting on its laurels with the success that it and Pfizer have had with Spiriva. The German drugmaker received a nod from an FDA advisory committee in January for olodaterol.

Olodaterol is intended to be given alongside Spiriva. It is a LABA, while Spiriva is a LAMA. Boehringer Ingelheim hopes that ultimate approval of olodaterol, which the company plans to market as Striverdi Respimat, would help it square off against Glaxo/Theravance and Novartis.

However, requiring patients to take two drugs instead of just one could put Boehringer at a disadvantage. That's why the company is also working on a once-daily combo of olodaterol and Spiriva.Estimates are for olodaterol by itself to reach peak worldwide annual sales of $350 million.

More to come
These are just three of the most promising COPD drugs on the horizon. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America group reports that there are more than 50 drugs in clinical development or awaiting regulatory approval that target treatment of COPD. These advancements hold the potential to help COPD patients, as well as deliver profits to the investors in those companies that lead the way.

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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2015, at 1:07 PM, lewishall wrote:


    I am Isabella from Canada, I was diagnosed of Emphysema (COPD) in 2011 and I have tried all possible means to get cured, i even visited pulmonologist but all to no avail, until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbal doctor from South Africa who prepare herbal medicine to cure all kind of diseases including Emphysema, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when i contact this herbal doctor via his email he sent me Emphysema herbal medicine through courier service, when i received this herbal medicine, he gave me step by instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed i was totally cured of this deadly disease within 12-14 days of usage, Contact this great herbal doctor via his email

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2016, at 6:54 PM, johnholly wrote:

    HOW CAN I TELL THIS TO THE WHOLE WORLD My name is john holly i was suffering from COPD disease over 3year ago,i went to different hospitals,they could not solve my problem and i was so hopeless and helpless when i was in the river side thinking of what to do a lady walk to me and said what is the problem and i told her everything,she told me about this great man called OGBIDIKI and gave me his email address and i email him,and him told me that every thing we be alright, and that i should put my trust in him and i did what him said, and he told me what to being and i brought every thing that him told me. in two day later i went to the hospital to do the test of COPD i find out that it was negative,so help me thank the great great OGBIDIKI. if you also have such a problem or a problem that is bigger than that email him with this EMAIL, i will hallway continues to share your testimony. thank you doctor my regard to you and your family.

  • Report this Comment On February 26, 2016, at 9:02 PM, ChrisOwens wrote:

    My Name Is Chris Owen, am commenting this true life testimony about Dr Bude who helped in saving my life from COPD, i want to inform the entire public on how i was cured of COPD VIRUS by Dr Bude, i visited different hospital in search for cure but all effort was lost when i was told by a doctor that COPD had no cure. But I was browsing through the Internet searching for remedy on COPD CURE and i saw comments of people talking about how Dr Bude cured them of their various diseases. i collected his email and got to him. When i contacted him he gave me hope of cure and sent a Herbal medicine to me that i took for 2 weeks and it seriously worked for me, my COPD result came out negative after 2 weeks of using the herbal medicine. Am so happy as am sharing this testimony. My advice to you all who thinks that there is no cure for COPD, is that, its Not true just contact Dr Bude now and get cured from COPD and all kinds of sickness you may have. Remember delay in treatment leads to death immediately. His contacts emails are: and

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