Respiratory medicine is a real area of strength at HRW, and we are always keen to stay up to date with new innovations in this evolving and fascinating space. Elizabeth Openshaw (Senior Research Manager) is one of our resident experts in this space: she travelled to Paris last month, to attend the ERS Congress 2018 . There was plenty to take in, and here are a few of her personal highlights…

Another fantastic ERS Congress, which took place this September in Paris, attracted over 22,000 delegates from all over the world, to take part in more than 420 scientific and educational sessions.

So, what stood out to me within this busy programme? Let’s cover the key highlights from the congress, and the areas that we at HRW will be keeping a close eye on over the coming year…

• Respiratory portfolios: Many companies are highlighting their respiratory expertise and products through their impressive portfolios for asthma and COPD. The link is typically through the device; for example, the Ellipta inhaler for GSK, and the Breezhaler device for Novartis.



Device use: As with last year, there was a large focus on demonstrating inhalers that are easy to use, reduce error use, and improve the method of drug delivery to improve outcomes. Companies have also been focusing on the use of digital innovations to improve compliance & ease of monitoring for both HCP and patient – although very compelling, the associated costs currently seem to outweigh the benefits, which is perhaps why there was less of a focus on innovation in this space this year.



Differentiation in a crowded landscape: There are a lot of messages out there, as companies push to differentiate in a very crowded landscape – how do you know which message belongs to which product? The majority of messages focused on efficacy, device, heritage, personalisation, and of course, the patient.



Severe asthma & biologics: The race is on for GSK, Astra Zeneca, Teva and Sanofi with their new biologics for type II severe asthma: Nucala, Fasenra, Cinquair, and (the soon to be launched?) Dupixent. A thought-provoking session highlighted the differences in the mechanism of action of these new and exciting therapies; however, a number of unresolved issues remain – perhaps the most important being a lack of head-to-head comparisons between the new biologics, and the lack of efficacious treatments for the majority of severe asthma patients with non-Type Two inflammation.



COPD & an evolving landscape: An interesting session, sponsored by GSK, discussed the rapidly evolving landscape of COPD, and highlighted the complexities of the current treatment paradigm, and the future of personalised treatment for these patients.

IPF & the head-to-head battle: Esbriet & Ofev still continue their battle to own the IPF space. Whilst both were focused on the patient, Roche (Esbriet) highlighted their real-world experience and efficacy data, and Boehringer Ingelheim (Ofev) demonstrated the importance of early diagnosis, “treat now, slow progression”, and examples of challenging patient case studies.



Buzzwords from the congress in Milan last year included: biologics, immunotherapy, Type Two inflammation, and phenotyping patients, so it was great to see further developments in these areas, and the continued excitement and high expectations for the optimistic future of respiratory medicines.



HRW attendance at key healthcare conferences and events

Through regularly attending conferences, such as the ERS Congress, we are proud to say that we are always up to date with the latest developments, and ‘hot topics’ in the healthcare arena. If you have any questions, or would like to know more about our expertise in any therapy area of interest, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!


By Elizabeth Openshaw

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