Immuno-oncology drug development and personalised medicine will continue to reshape the pharma industry in 2019

Immuno-oncology (IO) drug development will remain at the forefront of the pharmaceutical industry in 2019, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company

The company’s latest annual outlook report, The State of the Biopharmaceutical Industry – 2019, reveals that 31% of global industry respondents believe that immuno-oncology will have the greatest impact on the pharmaceutical sector in 2019 among a range of industry trends.

Claire Herman, Global Director of Therapy Analysis and Epidemiology at GlobalData, comments: “Immuno-oncology therapeutics have already been proven effective in the treatment of a range of cancers, including melanoma, kidney cancer, lymphoma and other malignancies."

"The pace of immuno-oncology R&D remains rapid and its scope has expanded to include combination treatment. More and more, this therapeutic approach is regarded as a potential game-changer. Despite some trial disappointments in 2018, in 2019 we will see more development, more approvals and more uptake for IO drugs.”

The related field of personalised medicine is likewise expected to play a pivotal role in the industry during the coming year, with 19% of survey respondents identifying it as the most impactful anticipated trend. Personalised medicine spans disease areas and stands to transform not just cancer therapy, but the treatment paradigm across multiple diseases.

Herman continues: “Personalised medicine is revolutionising disease treatment and patient outcomes. In recent years, as the direction of drug development has shifted from a one-size-fits-all blockbuster model to a more finely targeted approach that aims to develop drugs with higher efficacy in specific patient subpopulations, new targeted drugs have begun reaching the market across multiple indications. These new drugs are overhauling the treatment paradigm.”

“Although successful implementation of a personalised medicine-driven strategy requires a fundamental shift in the commercial model for most pharma companies, the investment is worthwhile. In fact, with time, it is likely that targeted therapies will be the standard of care in a wide range of diseases.”

The fact that, taken together, more than half of survey respondents identified IO or personalised medicine as the trend expected to have the greatest impact on the industry in 2019 is an indicator of the optimism surrounding these new directions.

Other trends, including real-world evidence, remote patient monitoring, and biosimilar uptake, were also highly rated. But ultimately, industry stakeholders believe that trends closer to the clinic will have the most transformative short-term effect.

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