Daiichi Sankyo tipped to dominate antibody-drug conjugate market through 2029

The antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) market is emerging as one of the most competitive areas in pharma, with companies such as AstraZeneca, Gilead and Pfizer investing billions into the space. Amid the vying for commercial position, analysts at GlobalData expect Daiichi Sankyo to dominate the space through 2029.

Japan’s Daiichi has helped to establish ADCs as a major modality after years in which the approach failed to fulfill its potential. Companies, including Pfizer and Roche, obtained approval for ADCs before Daiichi rolled out its first product, the AstraZeneca-partnered Enhertu. However, none of the older treatments had the same impact as Daiichi's breakthrough treatment.

With Enhertu, Daiichi and AstraZeneca have created a new class of breast cancer patients, HER2-low, and have been rewarded with surging sales. Daiichi cited (PDF) demand for its ADC as the driver of the 157% jump in sales at its oncology unit in the first quarter.

Analysts at GlobalData expect Daiichi to remain the dominant force in the ADC space, tipping its sales of the modality to top $10 billion by 2029. The forecast paints Daiichi is the runaway leader in the market, with Seagen and Roche following as distant second and third, respectively. GlobalData predicts that sales of their ADCs will reach $5.8 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively.

Daiichi recently tipped (PDF) its oncology sales to top ¥900 billion ($6.3 billion) in its 2025 financial year. Enhertu is the bedrock of the forecast but Daiichi also expects datopotamab deruxtecan (Dato-DXd) and, to a lesser extent, patritumab deruxtecan (HER3-DXd) to contribute to sales. Dato-DXd is partnered with AstraZeneca but Daiichi has HER3-DXd all to itself and plans to keep it that way. 

Seagen is next on the list. The biotech helped to birth the ADC space, picking up its first approval in 2011, but its days as an independent business may be coming to a close. If competition regulators sign off on the deal, Pfizer will buy Seagen for $43 billion to establish itself as a major player in ADCs. Roche, the manufacturer of the ADCs Kadcyla and Polivy, is third on the GlobalData list.