Gastric Cancer Drug Discoveries - what the future holds

Published 01 March 2011

Cancer drug development is a broad subject that requires an expert analysis to provide a clear understanding of the sector. Which types of cancer are attracting the most research attention? What are the key therapy areas, how does this differ between markets and how do emerging markets alter this view?
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Gastric Cancer Drug Discoveries - what the future holds
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Original analysis of the clinical potential and commercial prospects for companies, launched products and pipeline candidates put into current market context.

The market is set for rapid and significant growth
There is room for considerable change in the gastric cancer market as improved therapies seek to improve patient outcomes for advanced disease. Over the next seven years, Espicom expects to see the market grow by 133% from US$846 million in 2010, to US$1.97 billion in 2017, with the targeted therapies accounting for most of this growth. While competition amongst these targeted therapies will intensify from 2013/4, Roche will continue to dominate this market with Herceptin, which was recently approved in Japan.

Next generation chemotherapy
While targeted therapies are expected to grow rapidly, it is chemotherapy agents which are leading the current market. One notable success of recent years is Roche’s Xeloda, which is replacing 5-FU in the US and EU, where it has been approved as a first-line treatment in gastric cancer since March 2007. With US patents in force until 2013, Xeloda is the only branded chemotherapeutic for gastric cancer not facing generic competition at present.

The rise of targeted therapies
Espicom believes that by 2017, targeted therapies will account for over 60% of the gastric cancer market. Competition for Herceptin will initially come from GSK’s Tykerb/Tyverb, but Roche’s Avastin, Merck’s Erbitux and Lilly’s ramucirumab are just some of those waiting in the wings over the coming period. One of the most promising candidates is Bayer’s Nexavar where very promising PII trial results have given optimism for its prospects.