2017 cancer sales: $27.45 billion
2024 cancer sales: $27.82 billion
Rank change: None
Roche’s cancer-market crown may not be going anywhere between now and 2024, and its sales figures won’t change much over that period, either, according to EP predictions. But its market share will.
The lead for the Swiss drugmaker, which has dominated the cancer landscape for years, is about to get a lot less commanding. In 2017, its market share will drop to 11.9% from 26.4% as six of its top 10 competitors—J&J, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., AbbVie and Astellas—grow sales by double digits.
One big part of Roche’s forthcoming sales stagnation? Biosimilar rivals, which are readying copies of older blockbusters Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin. Those copycats are expected to roll out over the next few years, with some already on the market overseas.
To fill the void, Roche is looking in part to immuno-oncology product Tecentriq, which currently bears approvals in lung cancer and bladder cancer. There’s just one problem: Its rivals do, too, and analysts say Roche’s data doesn’t seem to stack up to competitor Merck’s in the all-important front-line lung cancer market.
That’s not to say the drug can’t find other markets to control, and recently, trial wins have hinted that Tecentriq may just find some key niches. In September, Roche said Tecentriq had prolonged the lives of patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer by an average of 12.3 months, compared with 10.3 months for solo chemo; analysts say an approval in that department could rake in up to $1.5 billion. And in July, Tecentriq became the first in its class to post a win in tough-to-treat triple-negative breast cancer.
Roche is also looking to find new sales avenues for its older drugs through combinations. It’s paired Tecentriq and Avastin in areas such as lung cancer and liver cancer, and last year it won an FDA approval for a combination of Herceptin and newer breast cancer treatment Perjeta in postsurgery patients, despite data that analysts labeled “weak.”