Nearly 800 New Cancer Medicines and Vaccines in Development, PhRMA Reports

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America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing nearly 800 new medicines and vaccines for cancer, according to a report released recently by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).1

Perseverance Needed

“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. Mr. Castellani discussed the importance of collaborations and commitment of biopharmaceutical researchers to persevere despite scientific challenges and setbacks at a national conference, “Turning the Tide Against Cancer,” held this past October. 

As detailed in the new report, biopharmaceutical research companies continue to explore new avenues to treat cancer. 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. “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,” Mr. Castellani said.

“Although the death rate from cancer has been steadily declining for the past 4 decades, its toll is still staggering,” said Mr. Castellani.

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. 

Public-Private Partnerships

The report highlights how biopharmaceutical research companies are working together and collaborating with academic medical centers, government, and nonprofit 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. “Despite the complexity of the challenge, researchers at biopharmaceutical companies remain committed to developing new treatment options for patients,” Mr. Castellani said. ■


Disclosure: Mr. Castellani is President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).


1. Pharmaceutical Research and Manu-facturers of America: 2014 Report: Medicines and Vaccines in Development for Cancer. Available at  Accessed October 14, 2014.