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Report: NSCLC Drug Market Expected to Grow Over Next Decade

Co-development of lung-cancer drugs and companion diagnostics looks promising (Dec. 4)

Decision Resources, a research and advisory firm based in Burlington, Mass., finds that the entry of seven new agents — in addition to increased use of Xalkori (crizotinib, Pfizer) — will drive the non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) drug market to increase from $4.6 billion in 2011 to more than $6 billion in 2021. This growth will occur despite generic/biosimilar erosion of key agents used in the management of NSCLC. In addition, the company expects that sales of Alimta (pemetrexed, Eli Lilly) — a branded drug that dominated the 2011 NSCLC market — will weaken significantly in the second half of the forecast period because of the entry of generics.

The company also finds that the co-development of drugs and companion diagnostics will help drug developers achieve success in patient populations that did not appear to be commercially viable. This approach is exemplified by the use of the Vysis ALK Break-Apart FISH Probe Kit (Abbott Molecular) to select patients for treatment with Xalkori.

Most of the agents currently in the NSCLC pipeline are being developed to address specific molecular targets and to improve the safety and efficacy of currently available chemotherapeutic approaches, the company says. Several agents designed to treat specific subpopulations of patients — including Tomtovok (formerly BIBW 2992, Boehringer Ingelheim), dacomitinib (Pfizer), the monoclonal antibody MetMAb (Genentech/Roche), and nivolumab (Bristol-Myers Squibb) — are expected to launch within the next 10 years.

The new report also finds that, despite the reduced risk associated with smoking cessation, the number of lung-cancer cases will continue to increase across all of the seven largest markets — the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K., and Japan — because of the effect of an aging population. This scenario varies substantially among different countries, however. Lung-cancer cases in Spain, for example, are expected to show a 74% increase through 2031, whereas cases in the U.K. will decrease by 8% over the same period.

Because of the poor prognosis associated with lung cancer, smoking cessation is expected to result in a total of 1.6 million prevented lung-cancer deaths through 2031.

The increasing need to molecularly characterize tumors to select patients for targeted therapies, such as Xalkori, will lead to an increase in the percentage of microscopically verified cases, the company finds. As a result, the number of verified cases of all forms of lung cancer will increase after adjusting for the effects of smoking cessation and population aging. However, because non-squamous NSCLC has a weaker association with smoking than either small-cell or squamous-cell lung cancer, it will increasingly account for a larger share of the NSCLC patient population, increasing from 58% in 2011 to 64% in 2031.

Source: Decision Resources; December 4, 2012.

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