5 April 2023

Sizing the brain

Brain disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide and a cause of death second only to cardiovascular diseases. According to the Global Burden of Disease, 12 mental health disorders affect 970 million people globally. That is one in eight of the planet’s people. And the prevalence of these disorders has increased by 48% since 1990 as the population has grown.


Science should be coming to the rescue, but innovations in neuroscience essentially stalled in the latter half of the last century. In the early 20th century, a combination of hard work and luck produced three broad types of psychiatric drugs: antidepressants, antipsychotics and anxiolytics. But psychopharmacology developments petered out, and few new drugs reached the market during the last four decades. Further, the treatments on offer today often only delay the progression of the disease without recovering lost brain function.

However, with advancements in brain disorders lagging behind treatments in other fields, such as cancer or treatments for the heart, new energy and ideas are flowing into neuroscience. There is now hope that new treatments will arise to overcome the limitations of existing therapies and relieve the millions of patients suffering worldwide.

To help new capital form investment decisions, Deloitte has studied the Global Neuroscience Market (GNM) across segments and regions. Our report provides a comprehensive analysis of available diagnostic and treatment options (as a proxy for the neuroscience market size) to estimate the revenue-based valuation of the GNM until 2026. The analysis indicates the GNM was worth $612 billion in 2022 and could grow to $721 billion by 2026, returning an aggregate compound annual growth rate of 4.2 percent across segments.


Over the last decade, investment bodies such as private equity, venture capital and corporate M&A divisions have been increasing the amount of capital dedicated to M&A deals in neuroscience. New investments will enable the development of new therapies, alleviating the suffering of many and supporting a mentally healthy workforce and a fully functional economy.


The GNM had a value of $612 billion in 2022, with an outstanding 73 percent derived from non-drug therapies. Such a predominance comes as no surprise if we consider how prevalent mental health problems are in modern societies, with 264 million people suffering from depression, 284 million from anxiety and 178 million from alcohol or drug abuse disorders.

The brain has been described as the most complex structure in the known universe, so it is no wonder then that medicine has struggled to solve its many varied disorders. The causes of neurological disorders vary but include genetics, congenital abnormalities, accidents and infections. They can also stem from lifestyle or environmental health problems. Aging is a primary risk factor for most neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. As the populations of the west rapidly age, the rates of these diseases are expected to increase.

This analysis reflects Deloitte’s current view on potential investment opportunities in neuroscience by presenting a selection of segments, their forecasted returns, and estimated growth rates, based also on regional differentiators and local developments. You can read the full analysis below:

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    Sizing the brain

    Segmentation and growth factors of the global neuroscience market