Melanoma cases to double; Promising pipeline and significant opportunities for drug developers willing to invest

Melanoma cases to double; Promising pipeline and significant opportunities for drug developers willing to invest
New York, NY - June 22, 2010 - Datamonitor predicts a near doubling of Melanoma cases before the end of the decade from an anticipated 138,000 new cases this year to 227,000 new cases in 2019 as a result of continued exposure to risk factors*.
Tom Gray, senior healthcare analyst at Datamonitor, comments: "There is real opportunity for drug developers willing to invest in this market. A significant unmet need remains for more effective drugs, which makes melanoma a popular R&D target. While this has yet to translate into novel, effective therapies, there are several promising candidates in late-phase development that could change the face of melanoma treatment."
Current cytotoxics and cytokines induce response rates up to a maximum of 25%, with no significant benefit to overall survival rates hence the high mortality rate associated with metastatic melanoma.
Datamonitor's new report** suggests that whilst no major breakthroughs with cytotoxic agents or cytokines have been made for the last three decades, the next generation of systemic treatment will consist of compounds that target specific molecular pathways, which may or may not be unique to individual patients.
Of 11 products currently in late-phase development the pipeline products currently showing the greatest promise are ipilimumab (MDX-010; Medarex/Bristol-Myers Squibb) and PLX-4032 (Plexxikon/Roche).
Datamonitor is also predicting that as melanoma tumour gene expression becomes better understood, the patient population will become increasingly segmented.
Tom says: "The shift occurring in cancer towards personalized therapy is also beginning to be seen in melanoma. The Phase III studies for several pipeline products are recruiting patients based on tumour gene expression, which will help to increase apparent efficacy by targeting only those most likely to derive benefit from treatment".
For example, PLX-4032 is being targeted to those patients with V600E BRAF mutations, while MAGE-A3 ASCI (astuprotimut-r; GlaxoSmithKline) is for those with tumours that overexpress MAGE-A3, and Tasigna (nilotinib; Novartis) for patients with c-kit mutations.
Tom concludes: "Any pipeline drug that shows a survival benefit in randomized Phase III trials is very likely not only to receive marketing approval, but also to be adopted very quickly as the new standard of care, with accompanying high uptake"
Notes for editors
* In the 7 major markets (US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK)
** From the report: Stakeholder Opinions | Melanoma 2010
Tom Grayis available for comment.
To arrange an interview or for further details regarding this release please contact Alicia Barrios in the Datamonitor press office on +1 570 687 9319, or email [email protected]
For UK, please contact Joe Dixon on + 44 (0)161 238 4083. For Asia-Pacific, please contact Tanisha Kaul on +61 (0) 9601 6723. For India/Middle-East, please contact Aartee Sundheep on + 91 (40) 6672 9586