Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that acts on neuromuscular junction and leads to the weakening of skeletal muscles. There are various symptoms observed in the patients suffering from myasthenia gravis, such as drooping of one or both eyelids (ptosis), swallowing difficulty, shortness of breath, impaired speech, change in facial expression, and weakness in arms, legs and fingers. Myasthenia gravis is caused due to ineffective transmission of the nerve impulse to the muscles. Various neurotransmitters such as acetyl choline (ACh), induce transmission of the nerve impulse in synaptic vesicle (gap between two neurons).
NUMBER OF MYASTHENIA GRAVIS DRUG CANDIDATES UNDER DEVELOPMENT (2017)
Various collaborations are ongoing, and many pharma and biotech companies have been receiving grants for the better development of therapeutics for the treatment of the disease. In 2012, the MYASTERIX consortium was formed as a part of CuraVac’s initiative and was supported by the European Union through a grant of €5.9 million under the Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement number 602420. The consortium aimed to advance a therapeutic vaccine candidate, CV-MG01 with orphan drug status, for the autoimmune disease Myasthenia Gravis (MG) to human proof-of-concept studies. According to the journal, The Lancet Neurology 2015, it was observed that the prevalence and incidence of myasthenia gravis was 40-120 people per million and 4-12 people per million, respectively.
The myasthenia gravis therapeutics pipeline comprises of approximately 19 drug candidates in different stages of development. Significant growth in the therapeutics pipeline of myasthenia gravis is attributable to the technological advancements for the diagnosis of disease as well as for the development of therapeutics. Various pharma companies, biotech companies, and education institutes are collaborating for the development of drug candidates for the treatment of myasthenia gravis. It has been observed that companies are focusing on the development of biologics, such as recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies, that have been showing positive clinical trial results. Also, targeted therapies and symptom based therapies are emerging, which are believed to have an intense scope in the treatment of myasthenia gravis.
Some of the key players developing drugs for the treatment of myasthenia gravis include Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., CSL Behring LLC, Novartis AG and others.