A Drug Meant To Replace Chemotherapy Could Reshape The Fight Against Cancer

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Drugmakers AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo Co. are partnering to develop a drug that could possibly replace chemotherapy.

Drugmakers AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo Co. are partnering to further develop a type of drug that can target cancer cells without threatening nearby healthy cells and potentially replace chemotherapy in cancer treatment.

Known as Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs), the drug has the potential to replace chemotherapy as frontline cancer treatment after Daiichi Sankyo’s successful testing of an ADC, labeled DS-8201, in treating breast cancer, according to an article from Bloomberg.

The partnership between these two drug makers has further validated the drug and sparked collaborations across the industry. Currently, 56 pharmaceutical companies are focusing developing ADC products. The ADC market, as a whole, was valued at $1.57 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow 26% each year through 2025, reaching the total market value at nearly $10 billion.

“DS-8201 may become one of the largest cancer biologic drugs. While the field has advanced and there are several companies focusing on ADCs, Daiichi in particular seems to have developed a unique expertise,” said Caroline Stewart, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, who estimates sales of the drug to eventually approach $12 billion globally.

DS-8201 has created such buzz because it has consistently doubled the survival time of advanced breast cancer patients from 10 months to 20 months. Trial results have also shown that patients experience less of the harmful side effects associated with chemotherapy, such as hair loss and nausea.

The end goal is for the treatment to be seen as an effective alternative to chemotherapy not solely in late-stage cancer patients, but the moment a diagnosis is made. Years of testing are needed to further ensure the efficacy in DS-8201 amongst patients.

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