GBI Research LogoThe Asia-Pacific (APAC) gastric cancer market is set to rise from $1.3 billion in 2015 to $2.7 billion by 2022, at a strong compound annual growth rate of 11.4%, according to business intelligence provider GBI Research.

The company’s latest report states that the market will be driven by the increasing prevalence of gastric cancer, higher levels of health insurance coverage and improving disease awareness. Indeed, strong awareness of the disease and a widespread screening programme in Japan have already led to a higher number of cases being diagnosed at stage I, increasing the treatment-receiving population.

Gayathri Kanika, analyst for GBI Research, states: “In line with improved diagnosis rates, the anticipated approval of various monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) during the forecast period will drive treatment rates across all lines of therapy and generate higher sales in the gastric cancer market. Currently, the gastric cancer treatment landscape largely comprises generic chemotherapies, which provide limited clinical benefit and cause serious side-effects. However, the current pipeline is strong, with targeted therapies expected to be launched during the forecast period.”

A new class of drug approved for the treatment of gastric cancer, targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, is Cyramza (ramucirumab), a mAb used for second- and third-line therapy for gastric cancer. GBI Research expects Cyramza to garner rapid uptake, as it is being established as the standard of care for the second-line advanced setting, with its label expected to expand to cover the HER2-negative first-line setting within the forecast period.

Perjeta (pertuzumab) is being developed in combination with Herceptin for the treatment of gastric cancer, on the assumption that the combination will yield superior results. The response rate shown in a Phase II trial – which compared the efficacy of Herceptin/Perjeta combination with that of Herceptin plus chemotherapy – was higher for the Herceptin/Perjeta combination. Perjeta, once approved, will likely replace the current standard of first-line treatment for HER2-positive gastric cancer.

Kanika concludes: “Despite their promise, the anticipated premium pricing of mAbs will make affordability a barrier for the marketing of these drugs in India and China, where there are no strong reimbursement frameworks and most expenses are paid out-of-pocket by the patient. Moreover, increasing cost-consciousness in the other major Asian markets, such as Japan and South Korea, will limit premium pricing opportunities for pipeline agents. Drug companies will need to consider the changing reimbursement landscape when determining the pricing strategies for their drugs in these markets.”