New targeted therapies in race for approval
Pharma giant AstraZeneca is currently leading the way in the development of a new PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) inhibitor for the treatment of ovarian cancer, according to recent analysis by global independent analyst firm Datamonitor Healthcare.
The ovarian cancer market is highly active with several promising candidates having reached the late stages of development. Three PARP inhibitors, Lynparza (AstraZeneca), niraparib (Tesaro) and rucaparib (Clovis Oncology), which induce cell death in mutated [BRCA-deficient] cancer cells, have been identified by Datamonitor Healthcare as front runners.
Of these three, Lynparza shows the most potential as AstraZeneca has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the US FDA as a therapy to be used in tumors that have previously reacted positively to platinum-based chemotherapy.
With only one targeted ovarian cancer drug currently approved in the EU and Japan (Avastin), and none in the US, there is a huge unmet need for targeted treatments.
Dr. Dominique Fontanilla, analyst at Datamonitor Healthcare said:
PARP inhibitors seem to have beneficial effects on tumors in women with BRCA mutations in clinical trials, and if AstraZeneca’s Lynparza were to be approved for use as a monotherapy, it would no doubt address an unmet need in the market.
However, more research is needed to understand exactly which ovarian cancer patients will most likely benefit from these therapies.
By the end of 2021, the number of ovarian cancer cases in the US alone will have increased by about 17% to roughly 30,400, meaning that US patients will still account for approximately 40% of all ovarian cancer cases in the seven major markets.
Dr. Fontanilla continued:
There is also still an issue concerning the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Those diagnosed in the early stages have a 75-80% chance of recurrence-free survival for the next five years, but unfortunately, only 20% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at an early stage due to lack of obvious symptoms.