IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science Releases Global Oncology Trends 2019 Study

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IQVIA™ Institute for Human Data Science Releases Global Oncology Trends 2019 Study: Record Number of Cancer Drugs Launched in 2018 across 17 Indications


  • The 2018 launch of 15 new active substances (NASs) bring the total NAS launches since 2013 to 57 with 89 approved indications for 23 different tumor types
  • Within the R&D oncologic pipeline, the most intense activity is for immunotherapies, with almost 450 in clinical development
  • A total of 1,170 oncology clinical trials were initiated in 2018, an increase of 27 percent from 2017 and 68 percent from 2013
  • More than 700 companies across the globe have oncology drugs in late-stage development, including 626 emerging biopharma companies and 28 out of the 33 largest pharma companies
  • Through 2023, compound annual growth in oncology therapeutics spending is expected to be 11–14 percent bringing total estimated spending to $200–230 billion worldwide; $220–250 billion when supportive care is included within the estimate


DANBURY, Conn. & RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The IQVIA™ Institute for Human Data Science found in its latest report, Global Oncology Trends 2019: Therapeutics, Clinical Development and Health System Implications, that in 2018 a record-setting 15 new active substance (NAS) oncology treatments with 17 indications, including one tissue-agnostic therapy, launched in the U.S. Those 2018 debuts bring the total number of new oncology therapeutics launched since 2013 to 57 covering 89 approved indications for 23 different tumor types.

In addition to detailing the influx of new oncology drugs within the R&D pipeline and marketplace, the Institute report explores health system barriers hindering the realization of the benefits of those therapies and drug candidates. The report further notes that despite extensive pipeline activity, oncology remains the most challenging area for research and development, facing significant risk of failure and long, costly development.

“Within oncology therapeutic development, the notable successes and failures in recent years have furthered our understanding of the underlying causes of certain cancers, disease progression, and the potential for novel treatments,” said Murray Aitken, IQVIA senior vice president and executive director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. “However, barriers to adoption of new drugs remain, delaying patient benefit from treatment advances. As treatment options increase, the impact on spending levels has become a focus across most parts of the world – a trend that is expected to continue during the next five years as growth continues.”

Additional highlights of the Global Oncology Trends 2019 report include:

  • Innovation in patient therapies: A record of 15 new treatments and one supportive care therapy were launched in 2018, adding a diverse group of therapeutic options with 17 indications across nine tumor types – 11 of the 15 are oral therapies. These 2018 launches increase the total NASs launched over the past five years to 57, which collectively have 89 approved indications for 23 different cancer types. Thirty-one percent of the approved indications during the last five years have been for hematologic cancers – leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma – while lung cancer leads the solid tumors with 12 indications among the 89, followed by breast cancer and melanoma with seven and six indications respectively. The introduction of immunotherapies in 2014, and their subsequent approvals across multiple indications, drove a surge in use by oncologists who treated more than 200,000 patients with immunotherapies in the U.S. in 2018 – double the number of patients treated in 2016.
  • Research and development activities: Within the clinical pipeline, activity is most intense for the nearly 450 immunotherapies currently in development, which are identified with more than 60 different mechanisms of action (MOA). At the same time there are more than 100 next-generation biotherapeutics – defined as cell, gene, and nucleotide therapies – in clinical trials focusing on 18 different MOAs. More than 700 companies are driving activity in the oncology pipeline and its late stage development, including 626 emerging biopharma companies almost 500 of which are solely focused on oncology. The largest pharmaceutical companies in the world are also actively pursuing new oncology therapies, with 28 of the top 33 big pharma companies developing anti-cancer molecules.
  • Bringing scientific advances to cancer patients: New oncology drugs launched in 2018 took a median of 10.5 years from the time of first patent filing to regulatory approval and launch, an acceleration of more than four years from the 2017 level. Last year, for an oncology therapy with breakthrough status, the average interval from first patent filing to launch was 10.1 years compared to the average for all other therapy areas of 18 years. Despite these trends, access to recently launched oncology medicines by patients living outside large developed countries remains low, with fewer than half of new cancer medicines available to patients beyond nine countries.
  • Spending on oncology medicines: Spending on all medicines used in the treatment of patients with cancer worldwide reached nearly $150 billion in 2018 up 12.9 percent for the year and marking the fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth, entirely driven by therapeutic drugs which grew 15.9 percent, as supportive care drugs declined 1.5 percent last year. New brands and protected brand volume contributed nearly all positive growth in major developed markets, resulting in double-digit growth in most countries or regions. Within the United States, spending on cancer drugs has doubled since 2013 and exceeded $56 billion in 2018, with more than $9 billion in growth coming from the use of new PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors. The average annual cost of new medicines has been trending up for the past two decades, but the median cost dropped $13,000 in 2018 to $149,000, and ranged between $90,000 and more than $300,000.

The full version of the report, including a detailed description of the study methodology, is available at The study was produced independently as a public service, without industry or government funding.

About the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science

The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science contributes to the advancement of human health globally through timely research, insightful analysis, and scientific expertise applied to granular non-identified patient-level data.

Fulfilling an essential need within healthcare, the Institute delivers objective, relevant insights and research that accelerate understanding and innovation critical to sound decision-making and improved human outcomes. With access to IQVIA’s institutional knowledge, advanced analytics, technology, and unparalleled data, the Institute works in tandem with a broad set of healthcare stakeholders to drive a research agenda focused on human data science, including government agencies, academic institutions, the life sciences industry, and payers. More information about the IQVIA Institute can be found at


IQVIA (NYSE:IQV) is a leading global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions, and contract research services to the life sciences industry. Formed through the merger of IMS Health and Quintiles, IQVIA applies human data science — leveraging the analytic rigor and clarity of data science to the ever-expanding scope of human science — to enable companies to reimagine and develop new approaches to clinical development and commercialization, speed innovation and accelerate improvements in healthcare outcomes. Powered by the IQVIA CORE™, IQVIA delivers unique and actionable insights at the intersection of large-scale analytics, transformative technology and extensive domain expertise, as well as execution capabilities. With more than 58,000 employees, IQVIA conducts operations in more than 100 countries.

IQVIA is a global leader in protecting individual patient privacy. The company uses a wide variety of privacy-enhancing technologies and safeguards to protect individual privacy while generating and analyzing information on a scale that helps healthcare stakeholders identify disease patterns and correlate with the precise treatment path and therapy needed for better outcomes. IQVIA’s insights and execution capabilities help biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, medical researchers, government agencies, payers and other healthcare stakeholders tap into a deeper understanding of diseases, human behaviors, and scientific advances, in an effort to advance their path toward cures. To learn more, visit

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Tor Constantino, IQVIA Media Relations ([email protected])

Andrew Markwick, IQVIA Investor Relations ([email protected])



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