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Advanced targeted therapies dominate colorectal cancer pipeline

29 September 2015  •  Author: Victoria White

A vast number and variety of remedies are steadily joining the treatment pipeline for colorectal cancer.


High incidence of the disease, unmet clinical needs, and huge commercial potential are attracting drug developers to the market, finds Frost & Sullivan. To stay competitive, participants are focussing on identifying new targets, enhancing overall survival at the early treatment stage, and reducing toxicity.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Product and Pipeline Analysis of the Global Colorectal Cancer Market, finds that advanced targeted therapies are dominating the colorectal cancer pipeline, accounting for 60% of the drugs under development. This trend remains in line with the broader oncology market’s shift away from standard cytotoxic regimens toward tumour-specific, personalised modalities.

“The growing understanding of the molecular make-up of specific colorectal cancer pathways will lead to the evolution of new biomarker targets and additional multi-targeted immunotherapies,” said Frost & Sullivan Healthcare Senior Industry Analyst Barbara Gilmore. “Biomarker testing, in particular, will become the standard of care, facilitating the selection of a targeted therapy for a patient’s individual need (predictive biomarkers) as well as defining the patient’s specific tumour type (prognostic biomarkers).”

Head-to-head trials now commonplace in the colorectal cancer space

In a crowded market, clear product differentiation and strong marketing efforts will be critical. New solutions must compete with well-established products and therefore, need to demonstrate superior profiles in terms of disease-free survival, time to progression, and overall survival rates. Regulators and payers are intensely scrutinising novel remedies, and the bar for approval and reimbursement is significantly higher than a decade ago.

Moreover, the emergence of value-based reimbursement in United States and Western European healthcare has limited targeted therapeutics and diagnostic biomarker tests to patients who will most likely respond to these costly therapies. Payers want to know which treatments are expected to work in order to justify the high costs of targeted regimens.

“Producing comparative efficacy data that demonstrates improved survival over competing modalities, along with appropriate pricing strategies, is especially vital since there are multiple tiers of treatment,” noted Gilmore. “To that end, head-to-head trials are now commonplace in the colorectal cancer space.”
The rising popularity of targeted therapeutics has not affected cytotoxic use, as physicians administer targeted therapies in combination with cytotoxic treatment. In fact, the far-reaching success of immune-based and targeted modalities points to their potential to finally bridge the gap between present cytotoxic regimens and future cancer treatments.

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