With the collapse of the Dendreon share price today following poor sales data (Adam Feuerstein on The Street has an excellent write up about this), attention has again focused on the prostate cancer market.
The EMA Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use granted the marketing authorization for Zytiga at it’s July 2011 meeting. The approval noted,
“The poor prognosis of the target patient population represents a high unmet medical need while the novel mechanism of action of abiraterone has the potential to offer an alternative therapeutic option for these patients.”
What does this mean for sales of sanofi-aventis’ cabazitaxel (Jevtana), which was approved in Europe earlier this year?
Given that both drugs have approval in the same indication for metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) post-docetaxel chemotherapy, and the price is likely to be comparable, my guess would be that Jevtana sales will take a big hit.
After a sick prostate cancer patient has undertaken several cycles of chemotherapy with docetaxel, why would they not want to take an oral pill as opposed to another chemotherapy drug, which does have a less than stellar adverse-event profile. The answer is they will probably take a chemo-holiday and use Zytiga.
Jevtana simply came to the market too late in Europe, and Zytiga gained accelerated approval. It’s a reminder that we live in a dynamic pharmaceutical market place, as the news last night from Dendreon has also reminded us.