Oncology treatments continue to dominate drug development pipeline

From: Patented Medicine Prices Review Board Canada

The latest edition of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) Meds Pipeline Monitor reports that oncology continued to dominate the therapeutic mix of the drug pipeline in 2020, with cancer treatments representing one third (35%) of medicines in all phases of clinical trials. Treatments for infectious diseases held the second largest share of the pipeline, at 13%, and are expected to grow in importance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meds Pipeline Monitor 2020 reviewed 935 new medicines in late stages of clinical evaluation to highlight drugs that could potentially impact the Canadian health care system. Among these, the PMPRB identified 16 late-stage new medicines, including five gene therapies, that may offer breakthroughs in treating previously unmet needs or have the potential to treat large patient populations, as well as six new medicines currently under review by Heath Canada. The report also provides an overview of the fast-moving pipeline for medicines and vaccines under development to treat and prevent COVID-19.

The Meds Pipeline Monitor series, which is published through the National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS) research initiative, provides a snapshot of the new drug landscape, highlighting medicines currently in clinical trials that may significantly impact future clinical practice and/or drug spending in Canada if approved for sale.

This annual horizon-scanning report is part of a suite of PMPRB publications that examine key segments of the pharmaceutical market. Together with its companion publication, Meds Entry Watch, it examines the continuum of new and emerging medicines in Canada and internationally.

Quick facts

  • In 2020, the pipeline contained 6,946 new medicines in various stages of evaluation, of which 13% were in Phase III clinical trials and pre-registration, representing a wide range of therapeutic areas.

  • Oncology treatments represented one third (35%) of medicines in all phases of clinical trials in 2020. Treatments for infectious diseases held the second largest share of the pipeline, at 13%, and are expected to grow in importance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Over one third of medicines in Phase III clinical trials or pre-registration had an early orphan designation approved through the FDA or EMA, which is consistent with the increasing trend in the prevalence of orphan-designated medicines entering the pharmaceutical market.

  • The report also highlights six of the new medicines currently under review by Health Canada. Four of these medicines have forecasted global revenues of over US $1 billion annually by 2026.

  • As of November 2020, 427 vaccines and therapies were undergoing evaluation for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.