DANBURRY, Conn. and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The latest report from the QunitilesIMS Institute is highlighting strides made in oncology therapies and the robust pipeline of forthcoming treatments.
The report, Global Oncology Trends 2017: Advances, Complexity and Cost, notes that 68 novel therapies have been approved globally across 22 cancer indications since 2011, providing more access and better outcomes for patients, particularly those with metastatic cancers.
It also notes that the late-stage oncology pipeline currently has 621 unique molecules being developed — a 7.7% increase over the 586 molecules in late-stage research at the same time last year. In the past 10 years, the report shows that the oncology pipeline of drugs in clinical development has expanded by 45%, the result of growing use of predictive biomarkers that make targeted therapies possible. As a result, 87% of drugs in the late-stage pipeline currently use targeted therapies that include small-molecule protein-kinase inhibitors and biologic monoclonal antibodies.
“The launch of multiple novel agents, coupled with increasing awareness and focus on cancer prevention, and emphasis on early diagnosis, have contributed to improved outcomes and a reduction in mortality rates for many of the major cancers over the past decade,” QuintilesIMS Institute SVP and executive director Murray Aitken said.”
As advancement in targeting has taken place, clinical trial size has shrunk, with 188 patients enrolled in Phase III trials — down from the high of 671 in 1998 — and trial duration going from 2000 days in 1997 to 1070 days in 2016. QuntilesIMS Institute noted that it could be the result of increased focus on smaller patient segments whose tumor types require lower enrollment to demonstrate clinical benefit.
The advancements made in oncology come with a cost, though. The report notes that global spending on oncology therapeutics and supportive care drugs grew to $113 billion in 2016 from$107 billion in 2015. Additionally, the total global cost of cancer medicines increased at a constant annual growth rate of 8.7% over the past five years — almost double the 4.9% growth the segment saw between 2006 and 2011.
The QuintilesIMS Institute projects that global spending for oncologics and supportive care will grow to be more than $147 billion by 20201, and expects a growth of 6% to 9% annually, with spending outpacing the expected 4% to 7% CAGR for total global spending on all medicines by 2021.