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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) Disease Coverage Forecast and Market Analysis to 2038

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) Disease Coverage Forecast and Market Analysis to 2038

  • October 2020
  • 77 pages
  • ID: 5939257
  • Format: PDF
  • Pharma Intelligence


Table of Contents

Malignant tumors of the liver are primarily adenocarcinomas, with two major cell types: hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and cholangiocarcinoma. Liver cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths, and HCC accounts for 85% of all primary liver cancers. It occurs mainly due to hepatitis C infection, and to a lesser extent hepatitis B and alcohol. While surgical resection and liver transplantation are potentially curative therapies for early-stage HCC, the majority of diagnoses take place at a disease stage that is too advanced for these treatments.

The analyst estimates that in 2018, there were 682,000 incident cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide in those aged 40 years and older, and forecasts that number to increase to 812,000 cases by 2027. The majority of HCC diagnoses (70.7%) worldwide are in males, ranging from 56.0% to 72.4% across regions.
Nexavar has been firmly established as the standard of care in advanced HCC since gaining approval in the US in 2007. However, Nexavar is forecast to steadily lose market share after the introduction of generics in 2020 (US), 2021 (EU), and 2022 (Japan). Additionally, Nexavar will face strong competition from the combination of Tecentriq and Avastin, which was the first regimen to demonstrate both superior overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) over Nexavar in the Phase III IMbrave150 study.
The analyst forecasts HCC sales in the US, Japan, and five major European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) to rise from $681m in 2018 to $2.5bn in 2027. Numerous PD-1/PD-L1 therapies are expected to be approved as monotherapies or as part of combination regimens for the first-line treatment of advanced HCC, and are expected to see significant uptake in this setting. Furthermore, the approval of expensive combination therapies in HCC will continue to drive market growth despite the generic erosion of key brands such as Nexavar.
After demonstrating a PFS benefit and non-inferior OS to Nexavar in the Phase III REFLECT study, Lenvima became the second systemic therapy approved as a first-line treatment for HCC in 2018. However, Lenvima is also expected to face significant competition from both the combination of Tecentriq and Avastin and from other immunotherapy regimens in development for the first-line setting. The loss of revenue to these therapies could be mitigated by approval of a Lenvima and Keytruda combination, which is currently being tested in the Phase III LEAP-002 trial.
Following positive results from the Phase III RESORCE trial, Stivarga was the first therapy to be approved for HCC patients previously treated with Nexavar, in 2017. However, Stivarga now faces strong competition for these previously treated patients from targeted therapies Cabometyx and Cyramza, and immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies Opdivo, Yervoy, and Keytruda.
Although Cyramza failed to meet its primary endpoint in the Phase III REACH trial, the subsequent Phase III REACH-2 trial confirmed the drug’s efficacy in the subgroup of patients with high levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), and supported a US approval for HCC patients who have been previously treated with Nexavar and have AFP levels ?400ng/mL. Cyramza faces competition from Cabometyx and Stivarga, which are also approved for patients who have progressed on Nexavar, and from immunotherapies.
Cabometyx is approved in the US and EU for HCC patients who have progressed on Nexavar, where it faces competition from Stivarga, Cyramza, and the immunotherapies. Exelixis is also pursuing the combination of Cabometyx and Tecentriq for use in the first-line setting in the Phase III COSMIC-312 study, with topline results expected in the second half of 2020.
Imfinzi with tremelimumab, a PD-L1 inhibitor + CTLA-4 inhibitor combination, is being investigated for the first-line treatment of advanced HCC in the Phase III HIMALAYA trial. AstraZeneca is also investigating Imfinzi for the treatment of patients with locoregional HCC in the Phase III EMERALD-1 study and for the adjuvant treatment of patients with HCC who are at high risk of recurrence after hepatic resection or ablation in the Phase III EMERALD-2 study. Approval in these settings would help to differentiate Imfinzi from other PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in HCC.
In 2017, Opdivo became the first drug in the PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor class approved in the US for the treatment of advanced HCC patients who have progressed on Nexavar. Additionally, the combination of Opdivo and Yervoy received an accelerated approval in March 2020 for the same treatment setting, becoming the first regimen containing a drug in the PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor class combined with a CTLA-4 inhibitor approved for HCC in the US. However, Opdivo’s commercial potential beyond this setting is limited because the Phase III CheckMate 459 trial testing its use in the first-line setting failed to show a statistically significant OS benefit in comparison to Nexavar.
Keytruda was approved shortly after Opdivo for patients who have progressed on Nexavar, in 2018. Both therapies were approved under accelerated pathways based on Phase II data. Although the confirmatory Phase III KEYNOTE-240 trial of Keytruda failed to meet its primary endpoint due to the statistical plan chosen for the study and the impact of post-study treatment on survival results, Keytruda remains an approved therapy for HCC.
Following the failure of Opdivo’s CheckMate 459 trial, tislelizumab is the only PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor being developed as a monotherapy for previously untreated HCC patients. Given the expected competition in the first-line setting, tislelizumab’s commercial potential will be determined by its cost-benefit ratio compared to the combination regimens, as well as its efficacy in patients who are unable to tolerate combination therapy.
Key recent events include pivotal trial readouts, such as positive results for Tecentriq and Avastin in the Phase III IMbrave150 trial in the first-line setting and Opdivo’s failure to show an OS benefit over Nexavar as a first-line monotherapy in the Phase III CheckMate 459 trial, as well as key regulatory events, such as the US approval of Tecentriq in combination with Avastin and the complete response letter for the combination of Keytruda and Lenvima in the first-line treatment setting.
Key upcoming catalysts for 2020 and early 2021 include the topline results from the Phase III HIMALAYA study of Imfinzi and tremelimumab, and topline results from the Phase III COSMIC-312 study of Cabometyx and Tecentriq.
The overall likelihood of approval of a Phase I HCC asset is 8.3%, and the average probability a drug advances from Phase III is 43.5%. HCC drugs, on average, take 10.5 years from Phase I to approval, compared to 9.4 years in the overall oncology space.

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