Partnerships with big pharmaceutical companies and small biotech companies have displayed the struggle for assets in a new mix of drugs billed as the most crucial discovery against cancer for years. Companies in the U.S like Merck have partnered with Switzerland’s Novartis to strengthen its position in the rat race to create what’s called cancer immunotherapies.
Cancer Immunotherapies are medicines that grab ahold of the immune system to fight against tumors by revealing the “hidden” cancer cells use to avoid being exposed. Some analysts feel this medicine can be valued at $40 billion dollars anywhere as close as 1 year to as far away as 10 years. This has raised the level of competition between Pharma companies. On the bright side Merck is one of the frontrunners in this research and development process. Merck has won approval from the FDA for melanoma treatments that diffuse a protein known as programmed death receptor (PD-1) which is suppose to defend cancer cells from being attacked by the immune system.
Although these immunotherapies are still in early stages an Analyst at Citigroup by the name of Andrew Baum states, ““the significant value that industry is willing to place on truly novel immunotherapies, even ones in pre-clinical development.” This shows investors the impact of these small biotech companies. Big Pharma is starting to take notice of how the “little guys” can be an asset in the fight the find a cure for cancer.