Pfizer Focuses on Four Main Cancer Types, Eyes Eight Blockbusters by 2030

01 Mar 2024
ADCAcquisitionPhase 3Financial Statement
Pictured: Pfizer's signage at its office in Canada/iStock, JHVEPhoto Fresh off of its $43 billion acquisition of antibody-drug conjugate company Seagen, Pfizer at an investor event on Thursday laid out its oncology business plans, which include refining its development focus to a handful of cancer types and boosting its biologics portfolio. Pfizer will zero in on four main cancer types. These include breast cancer, with its four main hormonal subtypes, and genitourinary cancers covering prostate and urothelial cancers. The pharma will also channel its resources into thoracic cancers, which include lung and head-and-neck malignancies, as well as hemato-oncology targeting multiple myeloma, Hodgkin’s disease and other lymphomas. With its expanded capabilities from the Seagen acquisition completed in late 2023, Pfizer announced during Thursday’s Oncology Innovation Day that it will also diversify its array of treatment modalities. While the company previously focused on developing small molecule drugs for cancer—such as its best-selling oncology assets Ibrance (palbociclib) and Xtandi (enzalutamide)—Pfizer will now build up its biologics business, specifically antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) and bispecific antibodies. Through its new strategy, Pfizer anticipates biologic therapies to comprise approximately 65% of its oncology business by 2030, representing more than tenfold growth from its current 6% mix. The company is also expecting to have at least eight potential blockbuster cancer assets by the end of the decade. “We have a clear strategy focused on three core scientific modalities and four main types of cancer,” newly appointed Chief Oncology Officer Chris Boshoff said in a statement, adding that this strategic positioning—combined with several “significant catalysts” starting in 2025—will help Pfizer’s oncology franchise be a “critical driver of potential long-term sustainable sales and profit growth” for the company. Among the catalysts are seven crucial Phase III readouts, including one for the investigational estrogen receptor degrader vepdegestrant which is being developed for the second-line treatment of ER+ metastatic breast cancer, and the experimental monoclonal antibody sasanlimab which is being studied in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Pfizer is also advancing its ADC Elrexfio (elranatamab-bcmm) into earlier lines of treatment. Elrexfio is currently indicated for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients who had undergone at least four prior lines of therapy. Pfizer’s investor event comes as the company is trying to win some investor confidence back following its disappointing fiscal performance in the last quarter of 2023. Pfizer’s fourth-quarter earnings took a 42% hit, driven mainly by the sharp decline in demand for its COVID-19 products Comirnaty and Paxlovid. The pharma is expecting its 2024 revenues to remain flat or rise by at most $3 million. Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or email him at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.
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