Even though U.S. adult obesity rates fell from 35.7% in 2010 to 35.1% in 2011-2012, this figure has been on a near-steady rise for decades, coinciding with Americans being less active. Among children and adolescents between the age of two and 19, boys saw their obesity rates rise from 14% to 18.6% between 1999-2000 and 2009-2010 according to the CDC. Girls' rates rose slightly as well, from 13.8% to 15%, though this wasn't considered a statistically significant change.
These statistics are particularly alarming when you consider that obesity has been linked as a high-risk factor for a number of serious diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. To be clear, being obese doesn't mean you're automatically going to get any of these diseases. However, when the data is examined, obesity and cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes tend to correlate.
I believe the broad implication to consider from PAC's report is that we could see a longer-term rise in demand for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular health products.
Consider a company such as Amarin (NASDAQ: AMRN), which has a single drug currently on the market, Vascepa, to treat patients with extremely high triglyceride levels. Later this decade, once Amarin's REDUCE-IT cardiovascular outcomes trial is complete, Vascepa may have an opportunity to move into a much broader moat of the population with high (as opposed to strictly extremely high) triglyceride counts. If large swaths of the population are failing to get adequate exercise, it's plausible that a drug like Vascepa could take on increased importance since a lack of exercise can lead to an increase in bad cholesterol.
SINGAPORE--China's Eddingpharm has been granted rights by Amarin ($AMRN) to sell hypertriglyceridemia drug Vascepa icosapent ethyl in Greater China. The deal includes significant milestones, and Amarin will be supplying the drug with Eddingpharm handling any clinical trial work needed on the mainland.
Amarin receives a $15 million upfront payment in the deal and is eligible for $154 million in regulatory and sales milestones as well as tiered double-digit royalties.Vascepa has been approved in the U.S. as therapy to reduce triglyceride levels in adults with severe hypertriglyceridemia.
The Chinese pharmaceutical market has been growing at an annual rate of approximately 20% during the past ten years and currently is the third largest pharmaceutical market in the world. This trend is expected to continue and enable the territory to surpass Japan as the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world by the end of this decade. The combination of the high prevalence rates of hypertriglyceridemia and large population size suggest that a great number of patients in China would benefit from therapy with Vascepa. To date, there has been no prescription grade pharmaceutical omega-3 product in China, and thus there is a high unmet need for an efficacious and safe product to treat the millions of patients that have related lipid abnormalities.