Competition, Combinations, and Collaboration in the Oncology Market: Which Companies Are Poised for Success?

In 2013, global sales of ethical oncology drugs exceeded $92 million, and sales are expected to exceed $120 million in 2020, far more than the drug revenues of any other therapy area. Thus, developing novel therapies for oncology indications is an attractive goal for pharmaceutical companies, but the competition is fierce. To be well received by both oncologists and payers, emerging treatments must be evaluated in robust clinical trials and demonstrate significant improvements in clinically meaningful end points over an appropriate comparator. Demonstrating these advantages while balancing costs is a significant challenge, but companies can overcome this hurdle through judicious use of combination treatments (e.g., the combination of two or more antineoplastic drugs with different mechanisms of action can act synergistically to improve patient outcomes) and collaboration with other drugmakers (i.e., to supplement and complement the capabilities needed to develop effective new therapies and successfully penetrate the market).