Should Novelos Therapeutics’ NOV-002 fail in its phase III trial for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the results for which are expected soon (Event – Pivotal lung cancer data could see Novelos soar, February 10, 2010) a large number of products are currently lining up to take over the baton in the race to become a new treatment option for this lethal condition. The R&D pipeline for lung cancer is flooded with candidates as big pharma and small biotech alike chase an indication for which a product, if authorised and shown to be better than therapies on the market, is almost certain to be a blockbuster.
A review of product portfolio data from EvaluatePharma indicates that there are 162 candidates in the late-stage pipeline (phase III/phase II) for all lung cancer indications. While natural R&D attrition means that many candidates will drop out having failed to show the efficacy or safety data that regulatory authorities demand, the sheer number of them suggests that some will hit their target and reach the market within the next few years. The entire pipeline from research project to phase III contains 300 candidates, as companies line up a significant number of shots on goal (see tables below).