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Strategic Lifecycle Management Key To Big Brand Survival In Shrinking Antihormanal Cancer Market

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Strategic Lifecycle Management Key To Big Brand Survival In Shrinking Antihormanal Cancer Market

Strategic lifecycle management has become a critical issue for pharmaceutical companies in the antihormanal cancer market, which has traditionally been dominated by a few key brands, suggests independent market analyst Datamonitor.

Antihormonal cancer therapies are used predominantly in the treatment of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Despite their limited clinical application, the high incidence of these tumor types translates into significant commercial potential for drug developers. Collectively, the antihormonal therapy cancer brands generated sales of $7.0 billion in the seven major pharmaceutical markets (US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK) in 2009.

However, over the next 10 years the patent expiries of leading antihormonal brands, particularly in the US, will produce a surge of generic products into the market and Datamonitor expects the market to marginally shrink. Indeed, three leading antihormonal brands in 2009, Arimidex (anastrozole; AstraZeneca), Lupron (leuprolide; Takeda/Abbott) and Femara (letrozole; Novartis/Chugai), are set to lose a significant proportion of their sales to generic competition.

In order to minimize these losses the drug companies will have to engage in marketing strategies that will build strong brand identities for their products.

Colin White, healthcare analyst at Datamontior, comments: "The contracting sales in the next decade are indicative of a mature market and the lack of novel antihormonal therapies. In the context of this mature market and, in the presence of generic competition, strategic lifecycle management becomes a critical issue for pharmaceutical companies.

"Companies are investing heavily in this process, either with the development of reformulations or with continuous development activities, as in the case of Arimidex and other aromatase inhibitors. For example, although Arimidex was launched initially back in 1995, AstraZeneca periodically publishes updated data from its clinical development in the adjuvant breast cancer setting. The aim of this strategy is to confirm the superiority of the drug and to reinforce physician confidence in its efficacy and safety profile. Other lifecycle management strategies include the development of reformulations, an approach that has successfully protected Lupron from intense generic competition."

Datamonitor believes these strategies will help ensure that both Arimidex and Lupron (leuprolide; Takeda/Abbott) will still be in the top three brands by forecast sales in 2019.

Colin concludes: "Despite losing around 54% of its current sales value to generic competitors, Arimidex will retain its market leading position. Lupron is also set to remain the leading luteinising hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist, despite the fact that its primary patent has undergone expiry and generic leuprolide is available on the market."

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