Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma | Unmet Need | US/EU5 | 2020

Hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of primary liver cancer, occurs as a results of chronic liver cirrhosis and has a five-year survival rate of only 18%. First-line advanced hepatocellular carcinoma is the largest drug-treatable hepatocellular carcinoma population and thus is commercially lucrative for drug developers. This setting is dominated by targeted therapies such as Nexavar (Bayer HealthCare / Amgen / Onyx), Lenvima (Eisai / Merck & Co.), Stivarga (Bayer HealthCare), Cabometyx (Exelixis), and Cyramza (Eli Lilly) as well as immunotherapies such as Opdivo (Bristol Myers Squibb / Ono Pharmaceuticals) and Keytruda (Merck & Co.). We estimate that the hepatocellular carcinoma market will grow rapidly, fueled by immune checkpoint inhibitors and uptake of multiple combination regimens. This report presents a detailed analysis of the goals of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma treatment and reviews the unmet needs that novel therapies should address.


  • What are the treatment drivers and goals for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma? What are the key influencers of treatment decisions and the hidden opportunities that developers could leverage?
  • What are the prevailing areas of unmet need and opportunity in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma?
  • How do immune checkpoint inhibitors such as Merck’s Keytruda and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo perform on key clinical drug attributes for this patient population?
  • What trade-offs across different clinical attributes and price are acceptable to U.S. and European oncologists for a new treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma?


Unmet Need supports clinical development decisions by identifying key attributes and assessing areas of unmet need for a specific disease or subpopulation. Based on surveys with U.S. and European physicians, this report provides insight into key treatment drivers and goals, the performance of current therapies, and the remaining commercial opportunities. One market scenario is profiled in detail by DRG experts, and additional customized market scenarios can be evaluated with the corresponding TPP simulator.

Markets covered: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany.

Primary research: Survey of 60 U.S. and 30 European medical oncologists fielded in April 2020.

Key companies: Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eisai, Exelixis, Bayer / Onyx Pharmaceuticals.

Key drugs: Nexavar, Lenvima, Stivarga, Cabometyx, Cyramza, Keytruda, Opdivo.

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