CRO Quintiles says biomarkers give insight into cancer drug candidates’ efficacy earlier in the development process, reducing trial costs and duration.

According to recent research, only 8 per cent of oncology new molecular entities (NMEs) reach the market and, worse still for drug sponsors keen to control clinical trial costs, six out of 10 candidates fail in Phase III testing.

Outsourcing-pharma discussed how biomarker analysis can improve cancer drug development with Quintiles VP of strategic business and oncology operations Christopher Ung.

Ung, who led the team that created HercepTest, explained that biomarkers are used in two ways: to identify patients likely to benefit from a drug; and in pharmacodynamic analysis to enable performance measurement early in a candidates’ development.

He went on to explain that recognition of such benefits has seen pharmaceutical industry demand for biomarkers surge over the last decade adding that, in a bid to meet this need, Quintiles has sought to match drug firms’ development processes.

And in the future Ung predicts that while established biomarker technologies will continue to support oncology development, newer technologies and models methods will continue to emerge to help drug industry efforts to combat cancer.