New report shows over 500 medicines in development for neurological disorders

Andrew Powaleny   |     April 18, 2018   |   SHARE THIS

Neurological disorders, which include more than 1,000 conditions that disrupt the brain and nervous system, affect an estimated 100 million Americans, nearly one third of the U.S. population. According to a recent study, this number is likely to increase, as the number of Americans ages 65 and over in the U.S. is projected to nearly double.  

With the annual cost of neurological disorders already approaching $800 billion, new treatments that both modify and prevent neurological disease are more critical than ever. Today, a new report shows there are currently 537 medicines in development for numerous, wide-ranging neurological disorders by America’s biopharmaceutical companies. These include 95 medicines for brain tumors, 92 for Alzheimer’s disease, 46 for chronic pain and many more impacting conditions ranging from multiple sclerosis to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Innovative research drives the development of these groundbreaking treatments by giving scientists an enhanced understanding of the nervous system at the molecular and genetic levels. A recent report found that 74 percent of medicines in the biopharmaceutical pipeline for neurological disorders are potentially “first-in-class.”


The medicines in development in the biopharmaceutical pipeline include several novel approaches to treat a range of neurological diseases, including:

  • Brain tumors, of which nearly 80,000 new cases are diagnosed each year
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias that, combined, affect 7.7 million people in the United States
  • Parkinson’s disease, which already affects one million people and is expected to double its incidence rate by 2030
  • Chronic pain and chronic pain conditions, which affect more than 25 million Americans
  • Epilepsy, the fourth most common neurological disease, and other seizure disorders

The 537 medicines in development represent a heightened understanding of the underlying mechanisms of neurological disorders. This improved understanding ultimately paves the way for biopharmaceutical companies to uncover new targets, treatments and cures that enhance and save patients’ lives.  A list of medicines in development can be found here.

Andrew Powaleny

Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organizations scientific communications. Before joining PhRMA in 2015, he worked in public affairs for a small firm in Washington, DC and served as Deputy Press Secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Andrew came to Washington, D.C. via Connecticut with a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University where he majored in public policy and government. Andrew is active as a runner and volunteer with the DC Front Runners; most recently serving on its Board of Directors for three years as co-race director. He is also a member of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and mentors students through his alumni association with The Fund for American Studies. Andrew is passionate about scientific innovation, especially for mental illness, and his heroes are the men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.

Topics: Medicines in Development, ALS, Alzheimer's, Patients, Multiple Sclerosis

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