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Survey: Launch of New Drugs Will Dramatically Affect Treatment Landscape for Liver Cancer

Biomarker-targeted agent tivantinib allows personalized treatment

Decision Resources Group, a health care research firm located in Burlington, Mass., finds that the treatment landscape for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) will change dramatically through 2023 as two new therapies gain approval and launch for second-line treatment of advanced HCC following disease progression or intolerance to first-line therapy with sorafenib (Nexavar, Bayer HealthCare/Onyx).

In addition, the launch of the new therapies — tivantinib (ArQule) and ramucirumab (Cyramza, Eli Lilly) — for use in the second-line setting will provide treatment options in a patient population for which there is currently no standard of care.

“The majority of agents in the HCC pipeline are being examined in the second-line advanced setting,” said analyst Karen Pomeranz, PhD. “During the course of the next 10 years, we expect the launch of two new therapies in this setting — Cyramza and tivantinib — which will help address the large unmet need for therapies following disease progression on Nexavar.”

The report also finds that the number of diagnosed incident cases of HCC in the major markets (i.e., the U.S, the U.K., Europe, and Japan) will increase by more than 1% annually from 2013 to 2023, driven by the aging population and by increased exposure to risk factors associated with HCC.

Other key findings include:

  • The expected approval of tivantinib, a multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets c-MET, will mark a shift towards personalized drug treatment of HCC.
  • The expected approval of ramucirumab will diversify treatment options for patients with advanced HCC and will result in more patients receiving treatment in the second-line setting.
  • Nexavar, the key branded therapy used in the treatment of advanced HCC, will undergo generic erosion during the 2013–2023 forecast period, tempering the growth of the HCC market.
  • The anticipated lack of launches of new drug therapies for early- and intermediate-stage HCC will prevent the HCC drug therapy market from expanding beyond the advanced-disease setting.

“Although we anticipate that the unmet need for new treatment options in the second-line advanced HCC setting will be addressed to some extent by Cyramza and tivantinib, a significant unmet need for novel therapies for the earlier stages of the disease will likely remain,” Pomerantz said.

Source: Decision Resources; May 7, 2014.

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