By Matthew Wiener, PharmD, founder and chief operating officer, Pharmatech Oncology
New cancer drugs take too much time and cost too much money to bring to market. The time to peak sales for products in development can be shortened by reducing the time to complete patient enrollment. This seems to be a simple concept, yet it is difficult to accomplish in the oncology sector.
Why is oncology clinical trial enrollment so difficult? The supply of adult cancer patients willing to participate in clinical trials remains stagnant at 3% to 5%. The low supply is matched with a high demand, with more than 850 cancer drugs and vaccines in development. Another difficulty is that cancer is not a single disease but many diseases, with the majority of cases classified as a rare disease. Breast cancer is not just breast cancer, it can be triple negative, Her2+, or metastatic. As cancers and drugs become more personalized, the challenge for finding and enrolling patients becomes even more daunting.