Press Release

836 Medicines and Vaccines in Development to Treat Cancer

PhRMA September 9, 2015

WASHINGTON  (September 10, 2015) — America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently working to develop 836 medicines and vaccines to treat a broad range of cancers, according to a new report released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) that highlights the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual Cancer Progress Report.  

The robust pipeline of medicines in development reflects the continued need for innovative medicines to combat the many forms of cancer, which despite a growing number of survivors in the United States, still account for one of every four deaths.

In 2015 alone, it is estimated that more than 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed, and nearly 600,000 Americans will die from a form of the disease.

“The oncology research community has made significant advances in identifying new, more effective therapies to help people with cancer achieve positive treatment outcomes and transition from being cancer patients to cancer survivors,” said John J. Castellani, president and chief executive officer, PhRMA. “However, the battle is far from over. This new report underscores the sustained commitment of biopharmaceutical companies to address the unmet medical needs of patients fighting these terrible diseases.” 

As noted in the report, “Cancer Medicines in Development 2015,” advances in cancer research have fostered an improved understanding of the complexities of the disease, which researchers now know is actually more than 200 unique cancer types that require a targeted, tailored treatment approach. Today, 836 medicines and vaccines are currently in development for cancer by U.S. biopharmaceutical companies, all of which are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The high volume of cancer treatments in development includes many that could potentially improve outcomes in key cancer areas with an especially high burden, including:

  • 123 for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with more than 158,000 deaths expected in 2015;
  • 106 for several types of leukemia, which account for 3 to 4 percent of all new cases of cancer;
  • 92 for lymphoma, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which accounts for nearly 9 percent of all new cancer diagnoses;
  • 82 for breast cancer, the leading cancer diagnosed in U.S. women, with 231,840 new cases expected in 2015;
  • 58 for brain tumors, including gliomas, which represent 80 percent of all malignant tumors; and,
  • 53 for skin cancer, including melanoma, which accounts for 2 percent of all skin cancer cases, but most of the skin cancer deaths.

“The scientific opportunities that exist today and our ability to translate this research into improved outcomes for cancer patients are simply astounding,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D, M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer, AACR. The AACR Cancer Progress Report, which is being released on September 16, echoes the promising findings of the Medicines in Development report and illustrates recent progress through the stories of 13 courageous individuals whose lives have been transformed by the incredible advances in research.”

View the full report
View the medicine list


About The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research 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 $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $51.2 billion in 2014 alone.

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