Cancer treatment is rapidly evolving and demand for more than modest incremental efficacy gains in highly competitive markets is growing. Given the complexity of the multiple pathways and aberrant targets that lead to oncogenesis and drug resistance, drug developers are pursuing novel combination therapies as a route to realizing substantial efficacy over monotherapy. Oncology markets are becoming increasingly segmented and crowded, and payer pressures are intensifying as oncology drug costs continue to rise. In response, pharmaceutical companies are developing combination therapies with the potential to deliver multiple commercial opportunities, including protection of existing marketed assets, differentiation from their competitors, and the possibility for substantial price premiums. However, companies will face tough decisions and challenges on the road to gaining regulatory approval and ensuring widespread uptake and market access of their combination therapy. Not least, developing an appropriate pricing strategy will be central to developing a novel combination therapy.

Questions Answered in This Report:

  • Combination therapy is not a new phenomenon in oncology; however, pharmaceutical companies are now pursuing novel combination approaches that involve at least two therapies with distinct molecular targets. What novel combination therapies have reached the market? What future events involving combination therapies are anticipated?

  • Combination therapies promise to more effectively prevent or delay drug resistance and subsequent disease progression, with potential to substantially enhance efficacy outcomes. What are the key commercial opportunities and potential rewards for developers of combination therapies? How can developers best exploit these opportunities?

  • Demand is growing for therapies with more-than-just incremental efficacy benefits over marketed therapies; pharmaceutical companies must continue to embrace combination therapy in order to maximize longevity and future success. What challenges will developers face when developing and bringing a combination therapy to market? How can they navigate these challenges and mitigate the potential risks? What are the actionable recommendations?

  • Oncology drug costs have been rising for decades and the anticipated emergence of new high-cost combination therapies is set to further escalate costs, placing added pressure on healthcare systems. How do thought leaders perceive combination therapies in oncology? What messages do they convey to physicians, payers, and developers about the high cost of combination therapy?
Author(s): Rachel Webster, D.Phil., M.A., M.Sc.

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