By:

Courtney Tyne and Gretta Stone

The American Society of Clinical Oncology wrapped its 2024 Annual Meeting earlier this month. This 40,000+ attendee event is the forum for oncology stakeholders to discuss research, practice, quality of care, technology and policy, all with an eye toward the future of oncology care. What can companies looking to bring new and transformative treatments to market learn from this year’s ASCO? A few trends jump out: 

 

  • Prior authorization continues to be a very real hurdle faced by many people diagnosed with cancer, but there is widespread agreement by a broad cross-section of stakeholders that prior authorization is overused and results in sub-optimal patient care and outcomes. Opportunities exist for companies to understand what kinds of prior authorization hurdles their products will face, and partner with patients, community oncologists, academic medical centers and advocates to develop recommended guardrails to push back against inappropriate use of this utilization management tool. 

 

  • Technology is viewed as a way to make oncology care more accessible, efficient, equitable, and patient-centric. Telehealth, artificial intelligence, decentralized clinical trials, electronic patient navigation tools, and virtual palliative care were discussed across different sessions as not only being the future of oncology care but also a way to provide insights into the needs of people with cancer. These solutions are particularly important for underserved populations who do not have easy access to care or for those who are very sick. However, uptake for these technologies may be slow, particularly if the technology is seen as too complex. Companies that are investing in tech as part of, or a complement to, their pipelines, will need to be mindful about whether, and how, their technology streamlines or complicates provider workstreams and engage with the provider community in a strategic way. 

 

  • Important advances happen when research on new medicines continues over time. Approval of a new medicine is always important, however, at this year’s meeting some of the biggest announcements reinforced the cumulative nature of oncology research—existing drugs being used in combination with other treatments, with different timing, or against new tumor types. For example, a targeted cancer treatment first approved in 2017 received a standing ovation at the 2024 ASCO meeting for new trial data that showed it delivered an 84% improvement in progression free survival in unresectable stage 3 EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer compared with placebo. The Inflation Reduction Act’s Medicare drug price negotiation program will continue to place pressure on companies releasing new products to front load research as much as possible and minimize post-approval research as potential negotiations approach. Companies need to be prepared to communicate the value of their pipeline and advocate for an environment where all of their research will be valued.  

 

The field of oncology has never been this innovative. However, companies hoping to navigate this complex space and successfully launch a product will have to consider the interplay of multiple technology, research, policy, and practice issues. The Reservoir team can help you identify hurdles, develop a strategic plan to minimize those hurdles, and smooth the path from treatment to patient.