Provocative: Analyst says hot new PD-1 cancer drugs are massively overrated
- Cancer immunotherapy is the biggest buzz word in cancer R&D in decades, but analyst Amit Roy says that the global market will only be about $10 billion annually—a fraction of more optimistic estimates.
- Amit Roy is a former Nomura analyst who now runs an independent firm, Foveal.
- PD-1 is a protein—a programmed death receptor. Inhibiting this protein is associated with catalyzing the body's immune system to fight cancer cells.
PD-1 inhibitors started to make headlines when Merck's Keytruda (pemborlizumab) was approved last year for treatment of melanoma, followed by the approval of Opdivo (nivolumab) from BMS---first for melanoma and now for lung cancer.
The truth is that the overall survival rates, as well as the rates of progression-free survival are significantly better with this class of drugs, which are being developed aggressively by numerous pharma companies. Still, according to Roy, the market will not be worth $30 billion as estimated. It is still too early to know, however, how big this market will eventually become.