Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the small-cell lung cancer drug market will more than double from just under $250 million in 2007 to more than $684 million in 2017, owing to the launches of Genentech/Roche/Chugai's Avastin and Celgene's amrubicin (currently marketed in Japan as Calsed by Nippon Kayaku) to treat the indication.
The new Pharmacor report entitled Small-Cell Lung Cancer finds that the launches, beginning in 2012, of Avastin as a first-line add-on to standard chemotherapy and amrubicin as a second-line therapy will drive robust 22 percent annual growth from 2012 to 2017 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan.
Although market growth will be robust from 2012 to 2017, drug development in recent years in small-cell lung cancer has, overall, been very disappointing. Recent clinical trials have largely eliminated Pfizer's Camptosar/Campto (Daiichi Sankyo's Topotecin), Eli Lilly's Alimta, and GlaxoSmithKline/Nippon Kayaku's Hycamtin from potential first-line status in the indication. Furthermore, despite the impressive sales that Avastin and amrubicin will add to the market, these therapies will have only niche roles in small-cell lung cancer treatment.
"Avastin and amrubicin will each garner only a limited share of the total small-cell lung cancer patient population," said Decision Resources Analyst Janie Mackay, Ph.D. "However, their high price points in an increasingly generic market, mean that those patient shares will translate into substantial market shares."
Despite the disappointing drug development environment, the recent designation of small-cell lung cancer as an orphan disease -- owing to reduced growth rates of the indication -- may help drive future drug development. In the United States, a drug approved to treat an orphan disease receives seven years' market exclusivity and in Europe orphan drugs generally receive 10 years' marketing exclusivity.
"If a drug developer were to produce a novel efficacious agent for small-cell lung cancer, they would benefit from the financial advantages that orphan-drug designation offers in the world's major pharmaceutical markets," Dr. Mackay said.
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