From Volume to Value: Personalized Healthcare in Oncology

Over the last 15 years, we have witnessed a notable shift in oncology drug development activity. Since the U.S. approval of Roche/Genentech’s Herceptin (trastuzumab) in 1998, pharmaceutical companies have been choosing to find new commercial opportunities through the development of personalized therapies. The rise of personalized treatments offers the opportunity for high treatment value despite intentionally targeting niche patient populations defined by physiological status or molecular characteristics of tumors. The era of one-size-fits-all chemotherapy treatment is drawing to a close for many oncology indications, and blanket use of chemotherapy across all patient subtypes is being replaced or added to with personalized therapies. However, while considerable clinical and commercial opportunities remain for further development of personalized therapies, the entrance of and excitement surrounding immune checkpoint inhibitors in oncology suggest novel drugs can still capture significant sales while targeting wide patient populations without exploiting biomarkers. Nevertheless, in biomarker-defined niche segments, molecularly targeted therapies present extremely strong competition, and with further investment, such therapies will continue to shape medical practice and provide meaningful market opportunities.

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