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Head and Neck Cancer Therapeutics in Asia-Pacific Markets to 2023 – Launch of Premium Immunotherapies and Increasing Prevalence to Drive the Market

  • Published: Dec-2017
  • Report Code: GBIHC465MR
  • Report Format: pdf


Head and neck cancer (HNC) is the sixth most common cancer, and its incidence is growing. The annual incidence of HNCs worldwide is more than 550,000 cases, with around 300,000 related deaths occurring each year. In terms of the initial site of development, 44% of HNCs involve the oral cavity, 31% the larynx and 25% the pharynx. The incidence of tobacco-related HNC is decreasing, but the incidence of cancer due to the human papillomavirus continues to increase at a rate of 2–4% per year. HNC is most common in the middle aged, with a peak incidence rate between the ages of 55 and 64, and a median age of diagnosis of 62. The HNC market is characterized by a small selection of marketed drug options, consisting of chemotherapies, targeted therapies (anti-EGFR), and immunotherapies (PD1/PD-L1 inhibitor). Historically, cytotoxic chemotherapies have made up the bulk of the HNC market. Little competition currently exists in the HNC market, leaving an area of considerable opportunity for interested newcomers. Currently, four targeted therapies are available in the APAC HNC market, which are Erbitux, BIOMAb EGFR, Opdivo and Keytruda. The remainder of this market is composed of generics. Recent additions to the market have highlighted that the treatment landscape is diversifying and becoming less reliant on chemotherapy options. With the approval of Keytruda in Australia, and Opdivo in Australia, South Korea and Japan, there has been an increase in targeted therapy options. Additionally avelumab (a PD-L1 inhibitor) is likely to be approved in APAC countries at the end of the forecast period, as it is currently undergoing Phase III trials in Japan, Australia and South Korea. A number of mAbs are in development in HNC for the inhibition of various different pathways and signaling systems. Many companies are following a strategy of developing products with similar mechanisms of action to those of existing products already approved in either HNC or other oncology indications. EGFR and PD-1/PD-L1 are the most commonly addressed targets in the current pipeline. However, there are also many innovative products in the HNC pipeline, which reflects a deepening scientific understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of HNC and the growing list of molecules that have been implicated in the initiation and progression of the disease.


  • The HNC Asia-Pacific market will be valued at $424.5m in 2023, growing from $265.9m in 2016 at a CAGR of 6.9%.

  • How will immune checkpoint inhibitors such as Opdivo, Keytruda and Imfinzi contribute to growth?

  • What effect will patent expirations of branded therapies have on market value?

  • The HNC pipeline is large and diverse, with an strong presence of mAbs and targeted therapies.

  • What are the common targets and mechanisms of action of pipeline therapies?

  • Will the pipeline address unmet needs such as the lack of targeted therapies available for locally advanced HNC patients?

  • What implications will the increased focus on targeted therapies have on the future of HNC treatment?

  • Numerous late-stage pipeline therapies with a strong clinical record have the potential to enter the market over the forecast period.

  • How have the late-stage therapies performed in clinical trials?

  • How would the approval of Keytruda, Opdivo and Bavencio to treat locally advanced HNC patients affect the competitive landscape, with no immunotherapy currently available to address this patient subset?

  • The market forecasts indicate that Japan will contribute the most to the Asia-Pacific market value due to the emergence of novel therapies.

  • How will the annual cost of therapy and market size vary between the five assessed Asia-Pacific markets?

  • How could changes in risk factors such as population age, tobacco use (both smoked and smokeless) and alcohol consumption influence the market?

  • Licensing deals are the most common form of strategic alliance in HNC, with total deal values ranging from under $10m to over $1 billion.

  • How do deal frequency and value compare between target families and molecule types?

  • What were the terms and conditions of key licensing deals?

Reasons To Buy

  • Understand the current clinical and commercial landscape by considering disease pathogenesis, diagnosis, prognosis, and the treatment options available at each stage of diagnosis, including a clinical comparison of marketed therapies.

  • Visualize the composition of the HNC market in terms of the dominant therapies for each patient subset, along with their clinical and commercial standing. Unmet needs are highlighted to allow a competitive understanding of gaps in the market.

  • Analyze the HNC pipeline and stratify pipeline therapies by stage of development, molecule type and molecular target.

  • Understand the potential of late-stage therapies with extensive profiles of products that could enter the market over the forecast period, highlighting clinical performance, potential commercial positioning, and how they will compete with other therapies.

  • Predict HNC market growth in the five assessed Asia-Pacific markets, with epidemiological and annual cost of therapy forecasts across India, China, Australia, South Korea and Japan, as well as the individual contributions of promising late-stage molecules to market growth.

  • Identify commercial opportunities in the HNC deals landscape by analyzing trends in licensing and co-development deals.

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