Big Pharma's push into oncology has yielded advances in the ability to detect disease earlier, identify more genetic links and develop new ways to tackle tumors. It has also spurred a stampede into the field as cancer is set to be diagnosed in 23.6 million people a year by 2030, bringing the annual cost of care to over $1 trillion.
Oncology will be the main therapeutic focus for over half of large-cap pharmaceutical companies by 2022, and sales are forecast to jump by 50% to $128 billion, according to Jefferies analyst Peter Welford. But the risk of therapeutic crowding is growing at the expense of research into respiratory, cardiovascular and infectious disease, as more companies zero in on the same types of cancer treatments.
"When you take a look at analysts' own estimates, oncology is forecast to be the fastest-growing therapeutic area over the course of the next 10 to 15 years," Dave Fredrickson, AstraZeneca PLC's head of oncology, said in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence. That is driving an influx of competition, but the opportunities are more attractive for companies trying to break ground on new types of treatments, he said.
The focus of innovation in the treatment of cancer has shifted momentarily from immunotherapies, which harness the body's own immune system to fight the disease, to two classes of drugs that disrupt cancer cells' growth.
Crowding in cancer innovation drives increase in genetic testing
Chart of the week
Softer Q3 pharma earnings expected as pricing, legal pressures mount
More earnings coverage
Third-quarter earnings for healthcare companies kicked off Oct. 15 with, as always, Johnson & Johnson reporting first. The S&P Global Market Intelligence Healthcare news team takes a look at companies' performance and the remaining quarter to come.
J&J picks up steam in medical devices as overall Q3 earnings beat expectations
Johnson & Johnson beat analyst expectations on its core businesses in the third quarter of 2019 — particularly in medical devices — despite pressures from headline-grabbing legal risks, as well as competition.
China sales, lack of US biosimilar market lift Roche 2019 outlook
Roche Holding AG raised its outlook after reporting higher-than-expected third-quarter results boosted by a 50% jump in China sales, a strong performance from its multiple sclerosis and hemophilia treatments and the absence of U.S. biosimilar competition.
Abbott continues sustained sales growth in Q3 as diabetes, heart devices lead
The growth in medical devices outside Abbott Laboratories' cardiovascular and neuromodulation products can largely be attributed to its glucose monitoring system Freestyle Libre.
Healthcare M&A deal value drops to $20B in Q3 as buyers target biotechs
Aggregate M&A deal value for the healthcare industry dropped to $20 billion in the third quarter of 2019, the lowest recorded for the period in at least the last five years, data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence showed.
SmileDirectClub tops list of healthcare IPOs in Q3'19
The third quarter of 2019 saw 39 healthcare companies going public, raking in an aggregate of $5.75 billion in proceeds, or over half a billion more than what similar companies raised in the same quarter a year ago.
Viagra inventor secures $56M for Healx to speed up drugs for rare diseases
Healx Ltd., a privately held artificial intelligence company seeking new uses for old drugs, has raised $56 million in a series B fundraising from investors including venture capital group Atomico Investment Holdings Ltd. and Intel Capital.
Alexion makes 'high risk, high reward' bid for Achillion amid FTC deal scrutiny
While shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. remained fairly stable following the announcement of the $930 million deal, dropping about 1.84% to $102.88, Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s stock jumped up over 71% to $6.25.
Q&A: CEO of Juno's China JV expects cost of gene therapies to treat cancer to fall
JW Therapeutics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. CEO James Li said the company believes technological and other advances could help to bring down the cost of gene therapies in both China and the U.S.
In other news
A combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy cures pancreatic cancer and enhances the immune system, a study shows.
Of Mice Not Men: Combo therapy cures pancreatic cancer; new light on carbon monoxide poisoning
Researchers at various institutions found mice were cured of pancreatic cancer after undergoing radiation therapy and immunotherapy, Viagra helped with faster stem cell collection, and phototherapy counteracted carbon monoxide poisoning.
Federal appeals panel questions if work rules uphold principles of Medicaid
A panel of federal appeals court judges seemed skeptical that Medicaid work requirement waivers in Kentucky and Arkansas uphold the principles of the Medicaid program.
PhRMA says Pelosi bill will trigger 'nuclear winter,' CBO projects $345B savings
The head of the brand-name drug industry lobbying group said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's legislation to lower medicine costs would kill innovation and jobs, but congressional analysts said it would save Medicare $345 billion over seven years.
Analysts detail health reform options as Democratic candidates push their plans
The authors of a new report said their analysis was intended to stand as a guidepost for comparing the coverage and cost implications of the various health reform proposals and would help Americans make more objective, thoughtful comparisons.
China's CSPC to appeal drug inclusion in provincial watch list; shares gain 4%
In a conference call with investors, the Chinese company's executives said the inclusion of the drug on the watch list will have little impact on the drugmaker's growth prospects, as Zhejiang accounted for less than 4% of the drug's sales in 2018.
Essential Healthcare is a weekly collection of critical developments across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, healthcare provider, healthcare technology and medical equipment industries that draws on exclusive analysis and value-added content from the Healthcare News team at S&P Global Market Intelligence. Subscribe now to get Essential Healthcare delivered to your inbox every week.