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Report: More Than Half of Products in Ovarian Cancer Pipeline Are First-in-Class

Companies seek alternatives to chemotherapy-based regimens

An analysis from business intelligence provider GBI Research states that as the ovarian cancer therapeutics market becomes more diverse, it will become less reliant on indiscriminate and highly cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens. The strong pipeline of 462 innovative products in active development signals a significant potential for alternatives to chemotherapy, which does not target specific proteins in aberrant pathways in ovarian cancer, the report says.

Chemotherapy-based regimens continue to dominate the market, which has seen few new entrants during the past decade. Olaparib (Lynparza, AstraZeneca) is a key new entrant; however, it is effective only in a small subset of patients.

“Despite limited therapeutic options for ovarian cancer patients at the moment, almost 52% of ovarian cancer products in active development in the pipeline are considered to be first-in-class, as they have a molecular target not associated with any marketed products,” analyst Joshua Libberton remarked. “As the current ovarian cancer market has a large generic presence, and relatively few novel active pharmaceutical ingredients, the market has stagnated, leaving a large portion of the ovarian cancer population with significant unmet needs.

“Currently, ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate of all gynecological cancers and is fatal in a majority of patients, rendering it imperative that more effective therapies are developed.”

The current ovarian cancer pipeline places an increased focus on targeted therapies, including a large number of treatments targeting common oncogenic pathways and signaling intermediates, such as PI3K/Akt.

The high proportion of first-in-class innovation implies that the industry is pursuing novel approaches to treatment and is reducing its focus on established therapies. Although innovation to date has been slow, greater disease understanding and awareness has created an environment in which it will thrive, Libberton observed.

He continued: “In addition to the use of existing platinum-based chemotherapy, treatments such as anti-angiogenic treatments and poly ADP ribose polymerase inhibitors are expected to have a positive impact on ovarian cancer survival in particular patient subsets.

“The pipeline is showing clear signs of innovation in ovarian cancer treatment, with many products deviating away from standard chemotherapy targets and with a high proportion of first-in-class drugs.

“Despite fewer innovative products reaching the ovarian cancer market than other indications in the past, there is hope that an industry-wide perception of high rewards for successful first-in-class products and an innovative ovarian cancer pipeline can provide improved treatment options.”

Source: GBI Research; December 8, 2015.

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