Prior to 2016, the therapeutic landscape for recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) had only benefited from the introduction of one novel treatment, Erbitux, in 2011. However, after years of dormancy, the immune checkpoint inhibitors, Keytruda and Opdivo, are beginning to transform the recurrent or metastatic SCCHN treatment paradigm.
The understanding of unmet need is crucial for identifying opportunities in SCCHN drug development, particularly because not all unmet needs are worth pursuing. We focus on the commercially important recurrent and metastatic population, the setting for which two PD-1 inhibitors Opdivo and Keytruda gained FDA approval in 2016. We assess how PD-1 inhibitors and other therapies perform on key drug attributes and measure the impact of drug attributes on physicians’ prescribing behavior. We identify potential hidden opportunities and consider which emerging therapies (e.g., durvalumab), if any, may be poised to capitalize. Using conjoint analysis, we determine the trade-offs across key drug attributes (including duration of response and quality of life) and price that surveyed physicians are willing to make when considering the first-line recurrent and metastatic treatment setting; these results allow us to simulate physician and prescribing likelihood across different SCCHN target product profiles.
Markets covered: United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany
Primary research: Survey of 60 U.S. and 31 European medical oncologists, fielded in December 2016
Key companies: Merck Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly
Key drugs: Erbitux, Keytruda, Opdivo, durvalumab, docetaxel, paclitaxel