Fierce Biotech reminds us today that new cancer drugs aimed at defined patient niches and paired with a companion diagnostic are starting to see regulatory success in the market. Yesterday, Pfizer's crizotinib received approval for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in ALK+ patients. It will be marketed under the trade name Xalkori (former consort of Xena Warrior Princess). It's priced at $115,000 per year and analysts are pegging it to hit $540 million in annual revenues by 2015.
Similarly, Roche's Zelboraf (vemurafenib) and its companion diagnostic (and $56,000 6-months price tag) were approved earlier this month for the treatment of certain melanoma patients. It in fact received accelerated approval as the agency appears to be motivated to get these type of targeted therapies on the market. The FDA has now approved 25 drugs so far this year (as compared to 21 all of 2010) and is rolling toward a big year.
With this type of encouragement, Big Pharma can be expected to deliver more targeted therapies (with high prices) to help replace its cadre of expiring broad population blockbusters (e.g. Lipitor) as the drug strategy begins to shift. I personally hope to see more of these targeted drugs make it to market sooner rather than later. See Fierce Biotech 1 and Fierce Biotech 2.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Aug 30th 2011.