With as many as 49 drugs approved by the FDA over the last 5 years alone, the oncology market seems to be booming. And like every other market niche, this one has its own set of market rules and dynamics.
Oncology market characteristics
- 2013 has seen half of all phase 3 trials failures to be cancer drugs. But once they did make it to the market, overall, the speed of uptake of cancer drugs has increased dramatically over the last ten years. And with new products launched to more targeted patient populations, the time to reach peak share has shortened.
- The main reason for that, is that the impact of a product on the market seems to be heavily dictated not only by clinical trial data, but also by the tumor market conditions; such as differences in order of entry, unmet needs in the specific therapeutic area, presence of a companion diagnostic, regimen type, testing results, specificity of approval and more.
- But a drug’s uptake also depends on the type of cancer it targets; according to a study by Ipsos Healthcare, physicians believe the main advances in oncology are to be in lung cancer, breast cancer and lymphoma.
- Another phenomenon worth mentioning from the same study, is physicians’ anticipation for the leading specialty pharma companies to be Genentech, Novartis, Pfizer and Amgen, those companies already dominating the consensus today. This constitutes as a powerful indicator that traditional players in oncology still play a vital role in the industry.
The oncology market serves as a perfect case study for the shift towards specialty markets being accelerated by specifically targeted patient populations (due to biomarkers, among other technological developments).