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April 13, 2023

Oncology outlook: top challenges, tech solutions

What are oncology teams’ top challenges, and how can technology address them?
top oncology challenges in pharma

The oncology market is a key growth driver for the pharma industry, accounting for about a third of its product pipeline. With oncology drug sales set to top $390 billion by 2027, life science companies are aligning their businesses to prioritize this valuable market opportunity ahead of competitors. However, fierce competition will be just one of the top oncology challenges in pharma over the next several years. What else will the industry face? And what can oncology teams do to get ahead?

Let’s break down some of the oncology drug market’s daunting hurdles and the tech-enabled solutions.

Top oncology challenges in pharma

  1. Intense competition
  2. The cost of research and development
  3. High demand

Intense competition

The top 10 oncology players produce 31 of the 35 current blockbuster treatments. Medical affairs oncology leaders should prioritize strategic decision-making capabilities in such a crowded market. Differentiation has never been more critical, and top players will align operations with a more digital model. Technology provides the agility to adapt and be nimble, even in a white-hot market.

“Higher success rates in rare cancers, where biomarkers can better direct therapy, characterize the oncology treatment landscape. Deal-making is favoring alliances over acquisitions as drugmakers focus on establishing the clinical benefit of new targets, particularly for rare indications.” – In Vivo Pharma Intelligence

The cost of research and development

Developing and launching a drug can take a decade or more and cost around $2.6 billion, and just a few of every 10,000 compounds will ultimately earn FDA approval. Safety, efficacy, and compliance are top priorities, and accelerating rigorous processes is not always feasible. Nevertheless, pharma companies have ambitious goals for their oncology pipelines. Teams can find speed in slow places by improving study enrollment and investigating expanded indications with an assist from technology.

High demand

In 2023, an estimated 1.9 million people in the US will receive a cancer diagnosis. In 2020, the most recent year that statistics are available, there were 18.1 million cancer cases worldwide. This figure is expected to grow due to a few factors, including a growing and aging population. But although cancer is common – about 40% of people in the US will be diagnosed with cancer during their lives – it affects people differently, and not every patient predictably responds to treatment. Oncology teams may focus on targeted therapies like small-molecule drugs and monoclonal antibodies, which can effectively target cancer cells. Pharmaceutical companies must ensure they are adopting processes to support demand.

Tech tools for oncology teams

The complexity of cancer drug development requires significant cross-functional coordination across life science organizations. Teams with a more mature insights management strategy can streamline insight generation and analysis in a single tech platform that brings together critical components for a successful oncology engagement for medical affairs. Look for:

  • A disease community landscape underpinned by network analytics to identify and engage the right experts
  • Asynchronous engagement applications for diverse and global conversations that yield valuable oncology insights
  • Social monitoring to understand trending topics from HCPs and patients
  • Life science trained advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to provide directional information quickly

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