The market for drugs to treat non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in seven major markets will increase from a value of approximately $4 billion last year to more than $6.5 billion by 2019, according to a new study.

Fast growth in the seven markets – France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the US and the UK – will be driven by increased uptake of Eli Lilly’s Alimta (pemetrexed) and Genentech/OSI Pharmaceuticals/Roche/Chugai’s Tarceva (erlotinib), as well as the launches of premium-priced emerging therapies, which include Sanofi-Aventis’ PARP- I inhibitor iniparib (BS1-201), Boehringer Ingelheim’s BIBW-2992 and Pfizer’s anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor crizotinib, according to the report, from Decision Resources.

Last year, the NSCLC market was dominated by antimetabolites, with Alimta accounting for nearly three-quarters of sales globally within this drug class, says the study. However, the market share represented by antimetabolites is set to decline, largely as a result of the generic erosion faced by Alimta and competition from emerging therapies, and by 2019 the market share held by these therapies will be reduced to 24%. They will by then represent the second-largest class of drugs used to treat NSCLC, behind the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor class which will have garnered a market share of 26% by that time.

“The NSCLC drug market will continue to move toward personalized medicine through 2019, resulting in an increasingly fragmented market,” comments Decision Resources analyst Janie Cox. “Treatments are becoming tailored to histology and clinical and molecular characteristics and targeted agents will have, at best, a modest patient share. However, their premium prices will ensure that they will garner significant market share,” she adds.

The report also notes that the leading drug treatments for NSCLC last year were Alimta, Tarceva and Roche/Genentech/Chugai’s Avastin (bevacizumab), between them accounting for nearly two-thirds of overall sales. Increasingly Alimta and Tarceva are being used in the first-line setting and also as maintenance therapies, and they will continue to dominate the market to 2019, as will Avastin, which will maintain steady uptake over the period, it says.