Currently underserved melanoma therapeutics space offers promising pipeline, with 226 first-in-class programs, says GBI Research


The melanoma pipeline has 579 programs active across all stages of development, with 226 first-in-class programs in the pipeline, acting on 138 distinct first-in-class molecular targets.

This accounts for 38% of all programs with a disclosed molecular target and reflects the high degree of innovation in this indication, according to business intelligence provider GBI Research.

The company’s latest report states that potential factors driving the pipeline include a significant level of unmet need due to melanoma’s poor prognosis and high incidence of therapeutic resistance, and the paucity of effective approved options in the market landscape.

This is particularly true of chemotherapeutics, and a strong understanding of the disease pathophysiology has developed over the last decade, facilitating the development of novel compounds.

Callum Dew, Associate Analyst for GBI Research, explains: “Despite a high attrition rate in oncology indications, it is highly likely that numerous first-in-class products in the melanoma pipeline, many of which are supported by promising preclinical data, will reach the market over the coming decade. This will potentially transform the clinical and commercial landscape, and has far-reaching strategic implications for all market participants.”

While targeted therapies such as Opdivo and Keytruda have made a strong impact on the melanoma space, unmet needs remain, not only with regard to safer and more effective therapies but also for further therapy options for patients with non-cutaneous melanoma.

Dew continues: “It appears that the greatest promise in addressing these needs could come in the form of combining novel therapeutics with currently marketed therapies, in order to provide effective treatment and improve patient survival. These combinations are most likely to comprise of an immunotherapeutic and a targeted therapy, or a combination of multiple targeted therapies. This could create a paradigm shift for future melanoma treatment.

“Combination therapeutics seem likely to radically change the melanoma market over the coming years, which could involve combinations of currently marketed products and new novel programs. In terms of the melanoma deals landscape, the majority of deals involve currently established targets, and there are 176 first-in-class programs not involved in prior deals.

“As attention shifts towards combining drugs, companies with the most promising novel developmental programs may seek strategic consolidations with other companies that have current developmental or marketed products.”

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