The ambitious estimates revealed yesterday by Pfizer to grow its oncology business ten-fold by 2018 to $25bn appear just that and for the US pharma giant to come anywhere close to achieving this goal it will need to significantly ramp up its licensing and business development operations (Pfizer might achieve No.3 in cancer but needs deals to hit $25bn sales target, July 14, 2009).
Whilst this is encouraging news for small oncology players who would love to land a lucrative deal with the world’s biggest pharma company, an analysis by EP Vantage of clinical stage unpartnered oncology assets reveals that with 549 products potentially available, competition for Pfizer’s attention will be fierce (see tables below). For Pfizer the trick will be in filtering out these partnering opportunities to identify the Avastins of the future.
Spoilt for choice
The following table is derived by extracting pipeline portfolio data from EvaluatePharma, and excludes any cancer products which are already being developed by, or partnered with, a big pharma company.
Unsurprisingly the bulk of these assets are in early and mid-stage clinical trials, whereas just eight products are currently under regulatory review.
|Unpartnered oncology pipeline assets|
In terms of the key unpartnered assets which are currently attracting the most attention and valuation by analysts, the following table highlights some products that could be of most immediate interest to Pfizer.
|Key late-stage unpartnered pipeline oncology assets||WW annual sales / royalties ($m)|
|Phase||Product||Company||Pharmacological Class||Launch||Sales or Royalties||2010||2012||2014|
|Filed||PDX||Allos Therapeutics||Dihydrofolate reductase inhibitor||Dec-2009||sales||72||224||360|
|Acapodene||GTx||Selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM)||Dec-2009||sales||67||217||357|
|Cerepro||Ark Therapeutics||HSV tk gene therapy||Dec-2009||sales||38||137||237|
|Phase III||Provenge||Dendreon||Prostate cancer vaccine||Jun-2010||sales||54||324||661|
|Anti-CD23 MAb||Biogen Idec||Anti-CD23 MAb||Dec-2010||sales||33||133||200|
|Picoplatin||Poniard Pharmaceuticals||Platinum compound||Dec-2010||sales||8||44||171|
|Proellex||Repros Therapeutics||Progestogen modulator||Dec-2010||royalties||1||60||145|
|AS1413||Antisoma||Topoisomerase II inhibitor||Dec-2011||sales||-||59||108|
|Phase II||R406/R788||Rigel Pharmaceuticals||Syk kinase inhibitor||Dec-2011||royalties||-||18||198|
|ARRY-797||Array BioPharma||p38 MAP kinase inhibitor||Dec-2011||sales||-||55||158|
|AVN944 (VX-944)||Clinical Data||Inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase inhibitor||Dec-2011||sales||-||-||145|
|SGN-35||Seattle Genetics||Anti-CD30 MAb-auristatin E conjugate||Dec-2012||sales||-||36||143|
|Arenegyr (NGR-TNFa)||MolMed||CD13 aminopeptidase N (APN) inhibitor||Dec-2011||royalties||-||16||105|
Whilst the likes of Dendreon, GTx and Allos Therapeutics so far intend to commercialise their oncology products themselves, rights outside the US would certainly be available and there is no reason why talks could not lead to a global license if both parties are in agreement.
With regard to some of the companies with most unpartnered pipeline assets, the following table reveals an interesting mixture of parties that may be most keen to attract Pfizer’s attention.
|Companies with the most unpartnered oncology assets|
Whilst the likes of Celgene and Biogen Idec clearly have the potential to develop and commercialise their own oncology products themselves, their inclusion in this list is relevant as it identifies them as key oncology players just behind big pharma.
Although a takeover of Biogen Idec or Celgene would significantly enhance Pfizer’s oncology portfolio in one go, the current merger with Wyeth would tend to rule this out any time soon. Nevertheless, their assets may attract interest a few years down the line if and when Pfizer’s appetite for another major acquisition returns.