Many pharma companies are developing new cancer treatment drugs to meet the demand by doctors and patients. According to FierceBiotech, regulators are helping pharmas bring these new treatments to market by reducing the required clinical trial phases for certain promising experimental drugs. The leading experimental cancer drugs for 2013 were outlined by FierceBioTech.

  • Ibrutinib (PCI-32765) is currently under development by Pharmacyclics and Johnson & Johnson to treat B-cell malignancies including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma. The drug was approved by the US FDA in November 2013. Pharmacyclics is now valued at over $5 billion.
  • Nivolumab (BMS-936559), under development by Bristol-Myers Squibb, is a leading immunotherapy. It functions with immune responses to bolster attacks on cancer and tumors. Bristol-Myers has rights to both drugs following a 2009 buyout of Medarex for $2.4 billion.
  • Pfizer’s palbociclib (PD-0332991) is promising in the treatment of breast cancer and can be taken in combination with the established drug, Novartis’s Femara. Palbociclib is also being considered for the treatment of ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, and acute lumphoblastic leukemia. Estimated potential annual sales are $5 billion.
  • Obinutuzumab (GA101) is under development by Roche Glycart. It is an anti-CD20 antibody that is designed to treat leukemia and other blood cancers. It will compete with Rituxan by Biogen Idec. Early results in testing show that cancers remained stable for 23 months and tumors shrank by 76 percent. Biogen Idec has rights to 35 percent of the drug after an agreement was reached with Roche’s Genentech, which shared the R&D expenses.
  • Lambrolizumab (MK-3475) by Merck treats melanoma. In 85 out of 132 patients, there was a 51 percent response rate and a nine percent complete response rate. These results were superior to those of its competitor, Yervoy.
  • Novartis has developed LDK378 for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and hopes to gain rapid approval by the FDA. This drug demonstrated an 80 percent response rate in patents whose cancers had progressed while taking the competitor drug Xalkori.
  • Other cancer-fighting drugs under development in 2013 include talimogene-laherparepvec (OncoVex) by Amgen that treats melanoma, Johnson & Johnson’s daratumumab for treatment of multiple myeloma, and idelalisib (GS-1101) by Gilead used to treat chronic lympocytic leukemia and indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Genentech, owned by Roche, has developed MPDL320A for the treatment of kidney, lung, colon, and gastric cancers and is competing with the PD-1 drugs from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck. Revenues of $35 billion are projected from this and other drug combinations with MPDL320A. BIND-014 treats lung, prostrate, and bladder cancer and has been developed by Bind Therapeutics. The new company is teaming up with other power houses such as Amgen, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca.

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