COLORECTAL CANCER MARKET – Targeted & Immune System-Based Therapeutics Emerge as Prominent Treatment Modalities


 A vast number and variety of remedies are steadily joining the treatment pipeline for colorectal cancer. High incidence of the disease, unmet clinical needs, and significant commercial potential are attracting drug developers to the market. To stay competitive, participants are focusing on identifying new targets, enhancing overall survival at the early treatment stage, and reducing toxicity.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Product and Pipeline Analysis of the Global Colorectal Cancer Market, finds advanced targeted therapies are dominating the colorectal cancer pipeline, accounting for 60% of the drugs under development. This trend remains in line with the broader oncology market’s shift away from standard cytotoxic regimens toward tumor-specific, personalized modalities.

The growing understanding of the molecular make-up of specific colorectal cancer pathways will lead to the evolution of new biomarker targets and additional multi-targeted immunotherapies. Biomarker testing, in particular, will become the standard of care, facilitating the selection of a targeted therapy for a patient’s individual need (predictive biomarkers) as well as defining the patient’s specific tumor type (prognostic biomarkers).


In a crowded market, clear product differentiation and strong marketing efforts will be critical. New solutions must compete with well-established products and therefore, need to demonstrate superior profiles in terms of disease-free survival, time to progression, and overall survival rates. Regulators and payers are intensely scrutinizing novel remedies, and the bar for approval and reimbursement is significantly higher than a decade ago.

Moreover, the emergence of value-based reimbursement in the United States and Western European healthcare has limited targeted therapeutics and diagnostic biomarker tests to patients who will most likely respond to these costly therapies. Payers want to know which treatments are expected to work in order to justify the high costs of targeted regimens. Producing comparative efficacy data that demonstrates improved survival over competing modalities, along with appropriate pricing strategies, is especially vital because there are multiple tiers of treatment. To that end, head-to-head trials are now commonplace in the colorectal cancer space.

The rising popularity of targeted therapeutics has not affected cytotoxic use, as physicians administer targeted therapies in combination with cytotoxic treatment. In fact, the far-reaching success of immune-based and targeted modalities points to their potential to finally bridge the gap between present cytotoxic regimens and future cancer treatments.

Barbara Gilmore, Senior Industry Analyst for Frost and Sullivan’s Transformational Health practice, has consulted for over 26 years with Fortune 500 pharma and biotech companies. She has experience executing commercial diligence for business and competitive intelligence projects, analyzing a broad range of areas, including oncology, cardiovascular, respiratory, and immunology as well as biosimilars, personalized medicine, and formularies in both emerging and established markets. She has extensive expertise in the identification of critical information in strategic decision-making efforts and has an established network of top notch industry contacts. She earned her MS in Comparative Pathology and BS in Human Development, both from the University of California Davis.