Rapid Growth Predicted for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Market

Celgene's Abraxane is expected to drive expansion of pancreatic cancer therapeutics market.

Celgene’s Abraxane is expected to drive expansion of pancreatic cancer therapeutics market.

Growth in the US market is forecast to help dramatically increase the size of the global pancreatic cancer treatment market within a few years, according to a new report from research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The report predicts that the combined annual cost of pancreatic cancer treatment in 6 major markets (the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) will grow from $529 million in 2012 to $1.63 billion by 2017, for a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25.2%. The most significant increase is forecast for the United States, with a jump in total value from $275 million in 2012 to $1.17 billion by 2017, for a CAGR of 33.5%.

Driving the rapid growth of the market is expected to be Celgene’s Abraxane (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension), which was approved by the FDA in September 2013, in addition to 5 other pipeline drugs.

“Out of the 5 upcoming pipeline agents, NewLink Genetics Corporation’s algenpantucel-L is expected to garner the highest sales and will be launched in both resectable and unresectable locally advanced settings,” said Savade Solanki, PhD, GlobalData’s associate director of oncology in a press release. “Other drugs with significant forecast sales by 2017 include Threshold Pharmaceuticals/Merck’s TH-302 and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals’ MM-398.”

Sales of Abraxane are forecast to exceed $950 million in the 6 major markets by 2017, with the majority coming from the United States. Celgene has US patent exclusivity on Abraxane until 2026, allowing for revenue to grow at such a rate that Abraxane will make up approximately 60% of the pancreatic cancer treatment market within the next several years, the report states.

GlobalData characterizes pancreatic cancer as having the highest unmet need in oncology, with just 5% of patients overall reaching the 5-year survival milestone. In 2012 in the United States alone, approximately 42,000 people were diagnosed with the disease, and 38,000 deaths were attributed to it, the report states, adding that pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in Western countries.

The report lists the top unmet need areas as therapies that improve overall survival outcomes for advanced patients; effective adjuvant treatments to prevent recurrence of the disease; earlier diagnosis; discovery of predictive biomarkers for underlying causes; and treatment options for gemcitabine-refractory metastatic patients.

Possibly constraining the expansion of the market is cost-consciousness that is expected to limit the pricing of several new therapies for pancreatic cancer. This is true even in the US market, which faces pressure from various health care authorities, physicians, and patients for improved cost-effectiveness of FDA-approved drugs, according to GlobalData.

The report also anticipates a high commercial reward for the development of drugs that can reduce recurrence rates and increase survival of patients with localized pancreatic cancer due to an existing need for adjuvant treatment options, a lack of indicated drugs, and a weak level of late-stage development activity.

“The large number of unmet needs in this disease, coupled with high physician familiarity, have facilitated the rapid adoption of Abraxane into clinical practice for advanced pancreatic cancer,” Dr. Solanki said. “We expect the Abraxane-gemcitabine regimen to win substantial patient share from all other major treatment options, including gemcitabine monotherapy, Tarceva-gemcitabine, and FOLFIRINOX regimens.”