WuXi AppTec has identified smaller, nimble biotech and early stage companies as the single biggest factor behind the next generation of development approaches.
The report concludes the next 5 years will be the most promising in the fight against cancer with immunotherapies such as CAR-T, moderating T-Cells and innate immunity therapies delivering far better patient outcomes.
During the last 5 years, the industry has rapidly advanced its understanding of the body’s immune response and genetic markers. As a result, combination therapies (chemotherapies will continue to play an important role) are forecast to become an increasingly standardised treatment with pharma keen to invest.
These newer options have led to transformative remission rates and check-point inhibitors have already been seen to elicit long term cures in patients, with success rates at two to three times more than standard chemotherapy approaches.
The report predicts that during the next 10 years patients will benefit from significantly greater breakthroughs as the industry’s understanding of the immune system improves.
There are currently more than 130 biotechs working on new therapies, in addition to 20 big pharmas and it is believed the smaller companies are more aggressively bringing newer innovations to market.
In the long run, pharma will undoubtedly absorb the most promising players in an effort to become leaders in combination therapy approaches, which many argue will deliver the best outcomes.
Hui Cai, VP of Corporate Alliances and Head of Communications at WuXi AppTec, said: “The current investor frenzy is comparable to that of the genomics industry at the turn of the century. The experts we have spoken to argue a more complete understanding of the genome and clinical data of these transformative modalities will create a golden age for cancer therapies emerging over the next few years.”
However, the report does identify a number of immediate challenges, for example CAR-T although demonstrating good efficacy in blood cancers, has yet to show enough efficacy in solid tumours. Another challenge is how far towards a cure for all patients it is possible to get, particularly for patients with late stage metastatic cancer.