Small cell lung cancer market to reach $2.4bn by 2029 in the 8MM driven by launch of 10 pipeline agents, says GlobalData

The small cell lung cancer (SCLC) market has experienced moderate growth since 2016, and is expected to increase further, from $698m in 2019 to $2.4bn in 2029 across the eight major markets (8MM*) at a compound annual growth rate of 12.9%, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Growth will be driven by the anticipated launch of 10 pipeline agents and greater market access across the 8MM for premium priced agents.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Small Cell Lung Cancer – Opportunity Analysis and Forecasts to 2029’ notes that the main barriers for market growth include the absence of predictive biomarkers leading to a lack of targeted approaches in the treatment paradigm.

Adam Pearson, PhD, Oncology and Hematology Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “SCLC is a disease area characterized by high levels of unmet need and an area of great opportunity for R&D. Compared to the introduction of targeted approaches in other areas of oncology, SCLC is a market still dominated by generic chemotherapies. Key opinion leaders (KOLs) indicate that the limited understanding of the underlying SCLC biology has resulted in a lack of effective targeted approaches.”

Significant unmet needs are expected to remain in the SCLC market, which present considerable commercial opportunities. KOLs interviewed by GlobalData have indicated that more innovation will be required to tackle this problem.

Pearson continues: “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Roche’s Tecentriq in 2019 marked the first FDA-approved immunotherapy for patients with ES-SCLC and represented a positive innovation for patients, despite the marginal absolute benefit in overall survival. Tecentriq, in combination with chemotherapy, gained first-mover advantage in SCLC and future additional revenue streams may derive from its combination with tiragolumab, contingent on demonstrable efficacy in an ongoing phase III trial. Roche’s Tecentriq is therefore forecast to retain its position as market leader in SCLC over the forecast period and will benefit from the lack of effective alternatives in this disease area.

“In the relapsed/refractory setting, the recently approved branded chemotherapy, Zepzelca (lurbinectedin), is expected to be widely adopted, in part due to the market withdrawal of Opdivo and Keytruda in later lines.”

Ten novel pipeline agents are forecast to enter the market in the period to 2029. The majority of these are being developed in China and approximately half are domestically developed Chinese immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Pearson adds: “The last decade has seen an acceleration of Chinese capabilities for drug commercialization and has resulted in the development of domestic brands. This has been most evident in the development of immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), positioned to be approved across multiple oncology indications. However, the introduction of Chinese checkpoint inhibitors into the SCLC treatment paradigm is more likely to have commercial, rather than clinical implications. KOLs note that new checkpoint inhibitors are unlikely to demonstrate improved efficacy over existing international ICI brands, however the introduction of multiple significantly discounted ICIs may provide pricing pressures for established ICI brands.”

*8MM = US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Canada and Australia.

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