Report Foresees Major Pharma Epigenetics Programs in Oncology
By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 06 Aug 2012
Epigenetics is emerging as a major determinant of cellular differentiation, playing a key role in a number of human diseases, according to a new market report.
The new report, written by pharmaceutical specialists GBI Research (London, UK), examined epigenetics, which refers to a selective regulation of gene expression within different cells that does not affect the genomic composition of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence. The last few years have seen an upswing in research into epigenetic modification of the chromatin within a cell’s genome. Epigenetic alterations appear to regulate differentiation of stem cells as well as giving rise to malignant cells, which include cancerous cells. Given the huge market potential and considerable unmet need, it is foreseeable that almost every major pharmaceutical company has an epigenetic program in oncology. The growing number of cancer patients worldwide offers a profitable market for epigenetic-based molecules, and the successful launch of just one agent could generate huge revenues.
In spite of the field’s optimism and the surge in epigenetic research over the last 10 years, however, several critical challenges need to be tackled before epigenetics is seen as a viable treatment option and a potential business investment.
Epigenetic targets are structurally complex, requiring a great deal of work to be characterized, and investigations into innovative drug discovery against new targets involve a high level of risk. The toxicity of epigenetic-derived drugs is a significant challenge for researchers and investors, as currently marketed epigenetic-based drugs can cause serious adverse effects, and these risks have led to a low uptake of epigenetic therapies in the market.
What also remains unknown is why first-generation epigenetic-based therapies have been especially successful against hematologic cancers in contrast to other types, particularly solid tumors, and the unknown mechanism of action is daunting for researchers and pharmaceutical industries worldwide. In spite of extensive research, very few targets have been identified, and therefore a great deal of work is still needed to characterize and determine the consequences of their actions. Little is known about the chromatin modifications in cancer, or the processes by which epigenomes influence the pathogenesis of various disorders.
GBI Research analysts believe that these hurdles will not be resolved by one organization, but instead demand coordinated and collaborative efforts from academia and pharmaceutical companies over time, in order to solve this medical mystery.
GBI Research is a provider of business intelligence reports, providing actionable data and forecasts based on the insights of key industry leaders to ensure the users stay up-to-date with the latest emerging trends in their markets.