Turning the Tables on Cancer: Exploring the Latest Trends and Market Potential of Targeted Protein Degradation in Oncology

A Peek into the Exciting Pipeline of TPD in Oncology

Targeted Protein Degradation (TPD) is considered by many as an up-and-coming therapeutic area. Degraders aim to target undruggable molecules, resulting in increased investments and a wave of assets being poured into discovery in recent years. TPD programs are most often used for oncology indications since pharma developers better understand the cancer molecular targets.

Nearly 450 TPD oncology drugs are in development today, and over 80% of those drugs are in preclinical and discovery stages, demonstrating an emerging market. PROTACs and molecular glues have dominated preclinical development. It’s unsurprising that historic degrader types, such as SERDs, are prevalent in clinical trials since they’ve been around longer and are more understood. This snapshot of the pipeline provides a glimpse of what the future of clinical development may look like.

Who’s Leading the Pack and Making Waves in the Industry?

Academic institutions develop the majority of pipeline assets, and most of these appear in the discovery and preclinical stages. This could be attributed to the fact that these molecules are synthetic chemical constructs that lower the development hurdles for academics to enter the field compared to complex biologics.

This is not the case in clinical development, as almost all of the developers currently having three or more drugs in the clinic are big pharma. The sole exception is Arvinas, who is something of a trailblazer in the field of PROTACs. Regarding dealmaking, the number of oncology-focused TPD deals has tripled in the last three years. The biggest value deal is seen by Gilead and Nurix, with an overall value of $2.8 B. Other significant deals happened between Elli Lilly and Seed Therapeutics at $1.3 B as well as Nurix and Gilead at $4.5 B.

What lies ahead for the TPD space?

It is anticipated that PROTACs and molecular glues will dominate the clinical phases of development in the coming years. Potential success or failure in the clinic is expected to determine the growth rate and deal making in the space.

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