Press Release

Nearly 800 New Medicines in Development to Fight Cancer

PhRMA October 6, 2014

Washington, D.C. (October 6, 2014)

— America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing nearly 800 new medicines and vaccines for cancer, according to a

new report

released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly one of every four deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.  More than 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2014 alone and nearly 600,000 Americans are projected to die from cancer this year.Subscribe Button

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“In recent decades, we have seen great progress in developing effective cancer treatments that help extend lives, improve quality of life and increase productivity,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. “Continued research has expanded our knowledge of how cancer develops and how to target medicines for specific cancer types, which has resulted in more effective therapies for patients.”

As detailed in the new report, biopharmaceutical research companies continue to explore new avenues to fight cancer, which has been found to be a set of more than 200 unique diseases. Researchers are also identifying ways to use existing medicines, either alone or in combination with other therapies, to treat various types of cancers more effectively than current standards of care. 

“Although the death rate from cancer has been steadily declining for the past four decades, its toll is still staggering,” stated Castellani. “Despite the complexity of the challenge, researchers at biopharmaceutical companies remain committed to developing new treatment options for patients.”

Of the 771 medicines and vaccines either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are 98 for lung cancer, 87 for leukemia, 78 for lymphoma, 73 for breast cancer, 56 for skin cancer and 48 for ovarian cancer.


The report highlights how biopharmaceutical research companies are working together and collaborating with academic medical centers, government and non-profit organizations to make progress against cancer a reality. These public- private partnerships help to leverage diversity of thought and experience and reduce potential duplication. The goal is to increase the number of new therapies for patients while reducing the time necessary to develop them.

Castellani will discuss the importance of collaborations and commitment of biopharmaceutical researchers to persevere despite scientific challenges and setbacks at the Turning the Tide Against Cancer National Conference on October 9,2014.  PhRMA is a proud sponsor of the conference, which will bring together thought leaders from industry, advocacy organizations, academia and government to discuss the cancer research and care landscape. For more information, please visit

Get the full report on Medicines in Development for Cancer. 

About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $51.1 billion in 2013 alone.

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