In 2013 the size of the global MS (multiple sclerosis) market was about $15 billion and the market is growing at a rate of 11 percent annually.
The multiple sclerosis drugs can be divided into different segments according to the delivery method.
Injectables: Traditionally most of the drugs are injectables. Biogen's Avonex belongs in that category.
To make it more convenient and the use of it less painful, the company has introduced the Avonex Pen, an auto-injector with a thinner needle. The pen has been well received by the patients and even helped Avonex to gain some additional market share.
But the use of the pen does not change the injection frequency, which is once-a-week and the manner of the injection which is intramuscular (into the muscles).
The new drug Plegridy, which is expected to get approval this year, is also a beta interferon like Avonex, but it is a pegylated version which means longer lasting, therefore the injections can be done less frequently. The approval is expected for a subcutaneous injection (into a layer below the skin) every two weeks or every four weeks.