McEvoy and Farmer
Research on the business of cancer testing in The Americas, Asia & Europe


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Who’s Who in the cancer testing business: The drug companies


In the fog of daily competition it is sometimes easy to forget that the drug companies pull the strings (or yank the chains) of the entire diagnostic testing industry.  More that $25b will be spent on cancer drugs in the US in 2013. There are 25 cancer drugs with sales of more than $100m/year in the US, and seven with US sales of more than a billion dollars annually. Only seven of these drugs have companion diagnostic tests associated with them. We expect that nearly every cancer drug approved in the future will have a companion test.

The top two are significantly bigger than the others. Roche will bring in $9b worth of oncology revenue in the US in 2013. The top three cancer drugs all belong to Roche, and they also have the most impressive pipeline by far, with 18 drugs in phase 3 and 49 drugs in phases 1 and 2.  Novartis is their nearest competitor, with $3b in US oncology sales, one billion-dollar drug, nine drugs in phase 3, and 22 drugs in phase 1 or phase 2.

After Roche and Novartis, the most valuable oncology pipelines belong to:

Phase 3                                                                                            Phase 1 and 2

• Pfizer                                                                                        9                                  8

• Millennium                                                                                7                                  15

• Celgene                                                                                    4                                  10

• Lilly                                                                                           3                                  31

• Astra Zeneca                                                                            1                                  20

• Sanofi Aventis                                                                          3                                  19

• Janssen                                                                                     3                                  10

• Bristol Myers Squibb                                                                 2                                  8

Another 26 drug developers had a total of 28 oncology drugs in phase 3 and 83 drugs in phase 1 or phase 2 by the fourth quarter of 2013.

Adding all this up, it appears that in December 2013 there were 87 oncology drugs in phase 3 and 266 drugs in phase 1 or phase 2. Nearly every one of these drugs has a companion diagnostic associated with it, so there appear to be 350-400 active companion oncology diagnostic projects in the works.

In the eyes of the drug companies there are only three types of diagnostic companies: those who have already successfully gotten FDA approval for a companion test, those who have not, and Myriad Genetics. Myriad took in $30m in research revenue for companion diagnostic projects last year. The bulk of the other plum assignments went to Roche.

Chad McEvoy