The market for drug therapies to treat multiple myeloma will experience robust growth averaging 5.6% a year from 2010 to 2020 in seven major world markets, according to new forecasts.

Growth in these markets - US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and Japan - will be driven by further penetration of Celgene's Revlimid (lenalidomide) into the first-line setting and the launch of premium-priced emerging therapies, says the study, from Decision Resources.

Despite the continued expansion of Takeda/Janssen-Cilag/Janssen's Velcade (bortezomib) in the first-line setting, sales of this product will be rapidly eclipsed by Revlimid's dramatic growth, the report forecasts. It also expects Revlimid's approval in the first-line setting to aggressively erode patient share and sales for the thalidomide products - Celgene's Thalidomide/Thalomid and Fujimoto Seiyaku's Thaled.

In 2020, Revlimid will hold a 62% share of the total multiple myeloma market, and Revlimid and Velcade will experience increasing uptake in the relapsed/refractory setting as they will be used in combination with emerging therapies, the study forecasts.

Revlimid will be used in combination with Onyx Pharmaceuticals/Ono Pharmaceutical's carfilzomib, which is expected to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as early as 2012, and also with Bristol-Myers Squibb/Abbott's elotuzumab, whose launch in the US and Europe is anticipated for 2015.

Velcade will also experience increased uptake in combination with AEterna Zentaris/Keryx Biopharmaceuticals/Yakult Honsha's perifosine, Merck & Co's Zolinza (vorinostat) and Novartis' panobinostat.

"Overall, Revlimid will emerge as the clear market leader in the multiple myeloma sector over the next decade," comments Decision Resources analyst Khurram Nawaz. "Velcade will remain the second highest-selling agent but will suffer from the entry of generics towards the end of the forecast period."

"Additionally, the most commercially promising emerging therapies that are anticipated to launch for multiple myeloma - carfilzomib and Celgene's pomalidomide - will command combined sales of nearly $800 million in 2020," he adds.

The report's findings also reveal that significant opportunity lies in the development of agents that improve survival and reduce toxicities compared to currently-available agents. The launch of seven emerging therapies during the forecast period will partially fulfill the high unmet need, says Decision Resources.