Global cancer drug market to grow to $111 billion by 2020: report

Researchers expect targeted therapies and immunotherapies to surge by “10% in market share collectively by 2020.”
Researchers expect targeted therapies and immunotherapies to surge by “10% in market share collectively by 2020.”

The global cancer drug market will reach $111.9 billion by 2020, according to a report from Allied Market Research released on Tuesday in which researchers wrote that combination therapies and immunotherapy medicines are expected to grow the global pie over the next five years. The report marked the oncology sector for a 7% compounded annual growth rate from 2014 to 2020.


In line with that growth, researchers expect targeted therapies and immunotherapies to surge by “10% in market share collectively by 2020.” Merck received the first US approval for a new class of cancer immunotherapies, known as PD-1 inhibitors, with Keytruda, which was approved for use in some patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. BMO Capital Markets predicts Keytruda will reach sales of $5 billion in 2018.


The report found blood cancer to be the leading category in current global oncology sales, and it expects sales of lung cancer drugs to become the fastest growing segment in the coming years. Novartis this week received FDA approval for its own blood-cancer treatment, Farydak (panobinostat), a therapy taken along with Takeda's Velcade and an anti-inflammatory drug.


Both Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb are currently developing lung-cancer immunotherapy drugs, which could be significant contributors to the category's rise in prominence if analysts' forecasts prove accurate. BMS recently stopped testing in one of its Phase-III trials for Opdivo in patients with advanced or metastatic lung cancer after an independent data-monitoring committee stated that results were strong enough to end the trial for now, essentially saying the drug had improved survival in patients. Merck also announced in January that it plans to submit Keytruda to regulators by mid-2015 for use in patients with some forms of non-small-cell lung cancer. Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson modeled Opdivo and Keytruda for $500 million and $900 million in sales by 2015, respectively.


North America continues to lead in market size for cancer medicines. “Developed economies such as North America and Europe collectively [accounted] for 65% of market share in 2014,” according to the report. The Asian oncology market, Allied researchers wrote, is currently dominated by China and Japan, which together account for 60% of the regional market revenue in 2014.