The thyroid cancer therapeutics pipeline is expected to witness considerable growth due to increase in the demand for the targeted drug formulation for the treatment of cancer. Though less number of drugs are available for thyroid cancer treatment, an increasing awareness regarding cancer treatment and high demand for safe and effective medications are driving the therapeutics pipeline.
According to the National Cancer Institute, a part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones. It most commonly occurs in people aged 30-year-old. Women are two to three times more likely to develop this thyroid cancer, as compared to men. Thyroid cancer is usually treatable, and in many cases, can be cured completely, although it can sometimes come back after treatment. There are four main types of thyroid cancer; papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer (hurthle cell thyroid cancer), medullary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Papillary and/or mixed papillary/follicular thyroid cancer is more commonly spread in 80.0% of patients. Follicular thyroid cancer affects 15.0% patient, medullary thyroid cancer affects approximately 3.0% patient and anaplastic thyroid cancer affects approximately 2.0%patient.
The pipeline drugs for the treatment of thyroid cancer contains Ofranergene obadenovec, a Phase II drug candidate of Vascular Biogenics Ltd. It is an intravenously administered dual-action, anti-angiogenic and vascular disrupting agent. It is a targeted anti-cancer gene-therapy agent, which consists of a non-replicating adenovirus vector with a pre-proendothelin-1 promoter that encodes a Fas-Chimera transgene apoptotic receptor in tumor blood vessel endothelial cells, leading to their apoptosis. This mechanism retains activity, regardless of baseline tumor mutations or the identity of the pro-angiogenic factors secreted by the tumor. Vascular Biogenics is using vascular targeting system technology platform, which controls gene expression to either promote or prevent angiogenesis to target various diseases. The drug induces specific anti-tumor immune response, followed by entry of CD8 T-cells and apoptosis of tumor cells. Eisai Inc. is currently conducting a trial of lenvatinib in radio-iodine for refractory differentiated thyroid cancer in China, which is currently in Phase III clinical development.
Among the presently available drugs, Lenvatinib, a small molecule drug candidate of Eisai Co Ltd., was approved by USFDA on 13 February 2015. It is an orally active multi-targeted kinase inhibitor, which inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1-3, fibroblast growth factor receptor 1-4, platelet-derived growth factor receptors and other tyrosine kinases.
Many pharmaceutical companies are focusing on the research and development of thyroid cancer therapeutics pipeline drug candidates, collaborating with one another. In February 2015, Biologics, Inc., an integrated oncology services company, reported that it was selected by Eisai Co. Ltd. as a specialty pharmacy provider within Eisai’s limited distribution network for Lenvima (lenvatinib).
Some of the key players having a pipeline of thyroid cancer therapeutics include Eisai & Co. Ltd., Exelixis, Amgen, AstraZeneca plc, Merck & Co., Inc., Daiichi Sankyo Company Limited, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG.