Oncology R&D driving strategic transformation

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With multiple modalities of care for cancer patients, oncology treatment decision-making has always been complex, but accelerating innovation is driving exponential growth in treatment complexity. There are more than 650 cancer treatment candidates in late stage clinical development (Phases II and III). Based on historical success rates, these could potentially lead to the launch of nearly 100 new treatments across roughly 30 clinical indications over the next five to seven years.

In a paper published in the October 2017 issue of In Vivo, “Oncology Disruption Demands Strategic Transformation,” the EY authors -- Troy Norris, Keyuri Shah and Kristin Pothier – discuss the impact of this accelerated complexity and how it is driving biopharmas to transform how they do business.

Traditional approaches to product development and operational management will no longer ensure success. This strategic transformation of oncology manufacturers requires coordination on three dimensions:

  • Refocused portfolio management
  • Innovative partnership networks and
  • Dynamic organizational decision processes

As having the first or best molecule in a class becomes a more short-lived differentiator, differentiation requires pharma companies to rethink their approach to market leadership. Market leaders will need a portfolio of complementary mechanisms with a central role in combination regimens across tumor types. Consequently, innovators must balance the need to pursue complementary mechanisms and combination regimens against the greater intensity of investment required to develop and position each molecule.

Creative partnerships with a network of collaborators are also essential in this new marketplace, particularly given the advent of immune-oncology and targeted therapies, both of which are exponentially increasing competitive intensity and the number of possible therapeutic combinations. Development and partnering decisions, especially regarding combination regimens and companion diagnostics will require substantial commercial and clinical involvement, coordinated globally across brands and tumor types. To manage increasingly complex collaboration networks, organizations will also need to revisit how they are structured and resourced to effectively identify, evaluate transact and manage these alliances.

Transformation will require a more dynamic organization model that enables rapid evaluation of strategic options and real-time decision-making. To make more responsive decisions for their programs, brands and deals, functional teams across R&D, commercial and business development need greater coordination with predefined decision criteria and real-time competitive intelligence.

Businesses that move confidently to adapt to and capitalize on the rapid disruption of the oncology market will have a strong competitive advantage and are more likely to achieve a profitable and growing market position, and a sustainable position in the future oncology ecosystem.


This excerpt is from the article “Oncology Disruption Demands Strategic Transformation” by Troy Norris (troy.norris@ey.com), Executive Director, Parthenon-EY; Keyuri Shah (keyuri.shah@ey.com), Vice President, Parthenon-EY; and Kristin Pothier (Kristin.pothier@ey.com), Global Head of Life Sciences and Managing Director, Parthenon-EY, published in the October issue of In Vivo.