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.