The use of biomarkers and personalized medicine is at a very early stage in asthma. Although most asthma patients can obtain disease control through treatment with available therapies, there remains a high unmet need for more-individualized therapies and therapeutic regimens that can be used in severe subpopulations of the heterogeneous asthma population.
Although severe/refractory patients represent only a subset of the asthma population, novel agents that target this patient segment have the potential to command price premiums given these patients’ level of unmet need. As a result, a series of biologics targeted at specific subpopulations of asthma patients (e.g., IL-5 inhibitors for eosinophilic asthma patients, IL-13 inhibitors for severe asthma patients with elevated periostin or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 [DPP-4]). These targeted agents are being developed with the intention of using them in patients who express a particular biomarker. The development of targeted biologics represents the most active space in asthma research.