Despite a wide range of available cancer therapies, patients' treatment responses remain limited and variable. As a result, oncologists are increasingly using combination therapies and drug dosing regimens tailored for individual tumor types and patients. Targeted therapies are able to specifically target the underlying mechanisms of the disease by regulating discrete aspects of cellular function affecting cancer cells to a greater extent than normal cells. As such, they hold the promise of being more efficacious with fewer side effects than cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs. Further, biomarkers are increasingly playing a role in both patient prognosis and drug selection. We believe certain cancers will eventually become chronic diseases, treated with a combination of targeted therapies. Our research strategy in the cancer market is to build a pipeline of targeted therapies.
According to estimates contained in the American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2013, in the U.S. there will be an estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer in 2013 and nearly 600 thousand cancer-related deaths. The five-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2002 and 2008 is 68%, up from 49% in 1975-1977. The improvement in survival reflects both progress in diagnosing certain cancers at an earlier stage and improvements in treatment.
The following table shows estimated new cases diagnosed and estimated deaths in the U.S. during 2013 by major cancer types of interest to Array:
|Type of Cancer
|Acute Myeloid Leukemia
|Gallbladder and Other Biliary
The use of targeted therapies has the potential to change the focus of cancer treatment away from categorization and treatment modality by organ type and towards categorization and treatment modalities by level of gene expression in individual patients, or "personalized medicine." Targeted therapies and personalized medicine hold the promise of increased survival with improved quality of life.
Oncology, both in treating cancer itself and as palliative therapy, has been a major therapeutic category for biotechnology companies since the inception of the industry. Recently, major pharmaceutical companies have increased their research and development and in-licensing investment in this market, particularly the targeted cancer therapy market. Some of the targeted therapies currently on the market that have been successful include Avastin® (bevacizumab), Xalcori® (crizotinib), Herceptin® (trastuzumab), Rituxan® (rituximab), and Zelboraf® (vemurafenib).