Turning a molecule into a medicine: The development of indacaterol as a novel once-daily bronchodilator treatment for patients with copd

Lorraine Murphy, Stephen Rennard, James Donohue, Mathieu Molimard, Ronald Dahl, Kai Michael Beeh, Juergen Dederichs, Hans Jürgen Fülle, Mark Higgins, David Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Indacaterol is the first once-daily, long-acting β2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) approved for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Indacaterol was developed using a combination of informed drug design and molecular chemistry to generate a β2-adrenergic agonist with a fast onset and long duration of action, enabling once-daily dosing with an acceptable safety profile. Early preclinical studies with indacaterol demonstrated these characteristics, and this promising molecule was taken into clinical development, originally for asthma treatment. Subsequent safety concerns over LABA monotherapy in patients with asthma redirected indacaterol's development to centre on COPD, where a good evidence base and guideline recommendations for bronchodilator monotherapy existed. Clinical development was initially complicated by different inhaler devices and differing doses of indacaterol. Using a phase III innovative adaptive-design clinical trial (INHANCE), indacaterol 150 and 300 μg once-daily doses were selected to be taken forward into the phase III INERGIZE programme. This programme delivered placebo-controlled and active-comparator data, including comparisons with formoterol, tiotropium and salmeterol/fluticasone, as well as the use of indacaterol in combination with tiotropium. Together, these studies provided a comprehensive assessment of the benefit-risk profile of indacaterol, allowing for regulatory submission. Indacaterol was first approved at once-daily doses of 150 and 300 μg in the European Union in 2009, followed by 150 μg in Japan (2011) and China (2012), and 75 μg in the United States (2011). To date, indacaterol is approved and marketed in more than 100 countries worldwide for once-daily maintenance treatment of COPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1635-1657
Number of pages23
Issue number14
StatePublished - Sep 12 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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