One of the unique ties that binds all of us who work in the life sciences industry is our shared desires to make a positive impact on patients. While the industry has achieved great advances across a range of conditions, nowhere has the impact been more profound than within oncology. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer death rates declined 27 percent over the past decade,1 with successes largely attributed to prevention and screening efforts and advances in treatment for a range of cancers.2 While we have achieved much progress in recent years, we have more work to do in delivering on the promise of innovations that are in development today. Successful commercialization is a critical enabler to delivering new innovations for the benefit of patients afflicted with cancer.
Oncology represents the largest and fastest growing therapeutic area (TA) within the biopharmaceutical industry, with an expected CAGR of 10 percent from 2020-20253 and global category sales anticipated to exceed $260 billion by 2025.4 In the past five years alone, 62 unique new cancer medicines have been approved in the United States, with many approved for more than one indication.5
Furthermore, most of the world’s largest life sciences companies have prioritized oncology as a critical therapeutic category for growth. In fact, the top 10 life sciences companies now account for greater than 80 percent of all oncology revenue within the United States.6 Oncology continues to command the greatest area of R&D investment, with more than 1,300 medications and vaccines currently in development.7
 IQVIA Institute, June 2021.
 IQVIA Institute, February 2021.
 IQVIA Institute, May 2021.
 IQVIA Institute, February 2021.
The life sciences industry has delivered, and continues to deliver, transformational innovations for patients across a range of oncology conditions. Doing so requires deep understanding of the oncology ecosystem, which is complex, rapidly evolving, and associated with unique considerations relative to other specialties; among which are:
Even within oncology, there are a range of unique Value, Access, and Pricing (VAP) considerations based on product and market dynamics. These include, but are not limited to:
Increasingly, launch planning and execution, whether for initial product launch or indication expansion, has become one of the most critical focus areas for oncology commercial teams. Many have dedicated business units and/or organizations with resources, capabilities, and skill sets to support successful commercialization and access. According to Deloitte research, market access has become one of the most important enablers of commercial success broadly and, increasingly, within oncology specifically.
Given the evolving nature of oncology commercialization, our team has identified 10 critical “must answer” strategic questions to support and enable VAP oncology launch planning (figure 1).
In addition to the strategic choices, we have identified five common leading practices associated with successful VAP commercial launch considerations for oncology therapies:
A company’s value, access, and pricing approach is an essential success driver for oncology-specific therapy launches. Developing defined launch plans that both accommodate the unique nature of oncology launches and align key workstreams with the VAP components can help life sciences company leaders address both the broad and nuanced considerations of an oncology therapy launch, deliver commercial success, and enable patient access to impactful oncology innovations.
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