February 7, 2019
Viraj Narayanan

The Cancer Market is Booming – How Does That Impact Care?


It’s no secret that oncology care is at a turning point, both in how care is delivered and in the number of treatments available to patients. After the cancer moonshot a few years ago, we saw a wave of innovation in immuno-oncology, personalized medicine, and unprecedented strategic guidance from the FDA, all of which are accelerating innovation in cancer care.

More cancer treatment options enter the market

Most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that while Pfizer didn’t sell any cancer drugs 20 years ago, it now has 17 on its roster. This represents a growing trend among large pharmaceutical companies as they look to enter or increase their footprint in oncology. According to Emma Walmsley, the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, “The unmet need as well as the biological advances are still so significant that there’s a lot of room for a lot of people to be successful.”

There is no doubt that the immense interest in this field is producing more treatment options - which is excellent for patients; however, a consequence of the dynamic nature of a new cancer treatment being approved every several months, is the increasing difficulty of making the right treatment choice for the right patient.

Organized treatment approaches

With such a robust life science oncology pipeline, there is a tremendous opportunity to help patients, particularly those with rare diseases or areas with an unmet need. After drugs are approved, deep clinical real-world data, including the information provided by COTA, has an opportunity to highlight what is happening in the real world in terms of treatment sequence and clinical outcomes over time. This information can arm providers to make better decisions and impact care at the point of delivery.

Beyond clinical practice, for life sciences, the use case that is most exciting is in continuing to accelerate clinical development. For companies like Pfizer and others that are ramping up clinical research and development of new drugs, understanding real-world evidence can help get the right drugs to patients faster and more efficiently via considerations like external comparators. Clinical trials are time-consuming and expensive, and cancer is increasingly stratified by molecular subtypes, so it won't be feasible to exclusively rely on traditional clinical trial information to support regulatory decision-making.

Expectations for the next 5 years

As accelerated approvals become more common and the FDA looks to incorporate more broad sources of patient data into its review process, Real World Evidence - can provide a faster, less costly approach to getting high-quality data to support drug approvals. Once drugs have come to market, it is imperative that providers have the tools available to sift through the treatment options to provide the best care to their patients that leverage real-world experience. Deep clinical and longitudinal real-world evidence can support both stakeholders on the ultimate quest to improve cancer care.

Next Article:
Changing How We Treat Cancer, Beginning with Drug Approvals
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