Novel cancer drugs tipped to boost drug sales - (Financial Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Doctors and researchers attending the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting will review the latest data for a number of immunotherapies, while drugmakers will look to with support for their drugs from investors, Financial Times reported Friday.
  • "There's a growing sense in the oncology community that immune manipulation may turn out to be an even more important intervention than chemotherapy was — maybe the most important ever," remarked Merck & Co. R&D chief Roger Perlmutter.
  • Among PD-1 inhibitors, only Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo and Merck's Keytruda have been granted marketing authorisation, while a number of companies have such drugs under development, while investors are awaiting the results of a clinical trial assessing the effects of Opdivo in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Yervoy.
  • Analysts believe that immunotherapies, which are being developed for several indications including lung cancer, bladder cancer and melanoma, could amass between $35 billion and $40 billion in annual revenue, with JPMorgan analyst Chris Schott suggesting that the size of the market for non-small-cell lung cancer alone could exceed $10 billion.
  • Roche, in addition to Pfizer and Merck KGaA, is developing an immunotherapy that targets PD-L1, with Credit Suisse's Vamil Divan predicting that Roche will eventually overtake Merck for leadership for the immunotherapy market due to its superior oncology salesforce.
  • Some analysts and experts have questioned the potential prices of immunotherapies, as both Keytruda and Opdivo have been launched at a price of about $150 000 annually in the US, although some analysts indicated that savings could be extracted from other parts of the healthcare system.

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