Although lung cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, according to a recent analysis conducted by Frost & Sullivan titled “A Product and Pipeline Analysis of the Lung Cancer Therapeutics Market” there are only 18 available treatments, with the patents for the most prescribed drugs, Avastin and Almita, expiring in 2017 and 2015, respectively.
The lung cancer treatment drug market has nearly 130 drugs in various stages of study and development for the treatment of both non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). These are expected to be commercialized by 2020. According to the analysis, many pharmaceuticals and niches are working on the development of new drugs that will most likely replace existing therapeutics within the next ten years. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the FDA Japan and the European Medicines Agency are all encouraging investments in therapies to target lung cancer.
There is an intense competition in the development of lung cancer drugs among the largest pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Merck, and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). According to the Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Research analyses AstraZeneca, Roche, Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb are in the frontline of developing drugs to target PD-L1 pathway and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). Bristol-Myers Squibb is already commercializing Opdivo (Nivolumab) in Japan, becoming the first pharmaceutical firm to introduce its compound candidate for the PD-L1 pathway.
“However, the development of targeted therapies for mutations such as kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS), human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) and BRAF is yet to pick up pace,” stated Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Research Analyst Sumedha Pareek in a recent news release. “The market is also in need of cost-efficient drugs.”
Results from the analysis revealed that costs involved in early detection of cancer are nearly 43% lower than the costs associated with late-stage cancer treatment. Based on these results, using combined-modality treatment may help to reduce these expenses.
“For instance, the first-line treatment for NSCLC is typically chemotherapy,” explained Pareek in the news release. “This might change with the introduction of Necitumumab by Eli Lilly, at present in the third phase of clinical trials in the US. In combination with chemotherapy, Necitumumab has the potential to be the first targeted therapy used for cost-effective first-line treatment.”
According to the analysis, close collaboration between pharmaceutical companies, translational investigators and university research teams should be maintained for the necessary identification of new affordable targeted therapies for lung cancer.