Length 302 pages

Date published January 2010

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Kinase Therapeutics: Pipeline Assessment and Commercial Prospects Report - Overview

 Author: Peter Norman, PhD, MBA

The number of kinase inhibitors entering clinical development has increased significantly in recent years. In addition to major pharmaceutical and biotech companies, an increasing number of emerging companies are focusing on their development. By 2020, small-molecule kinase inhibitors could generate annual revenues > $25 billion. This report assesses: 

  • R&D considerations specific to targeting kinases
  • Current kinase inhibitor pipelines
  • Commercial successes to date
  • Near- and longer-term market outlook
  • Corporate activities of firms involved with kinases


Kinases are now firmly established as a major class of drug targets. It was previously thought that kinases would be intractable drug targets due to the presumed need to compete with ATP and the assumption that sufficient selectivity would be unattainable. However, considerable progress has been made in understanding kinases and their function, and the past few years have seen a number of kinase inhibitors reach the market. Imatinib (Novartis’ Gleevec) is currently the most commercially successful, with sales reaching $3.7 billion in 2008. Erlotinib (OSI/Roche’s Tarceva) generated revenues of $1.1 billion the same year.

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the number of kinase inhibitors entering the clinic, and many more are in preclinical development. Kinase Therapeutics: Pipeline Assessment and Commercial Prospects identifies which kinase families and their respective members have attracted the greatest interest for therapeutic development and in which indications these kinases play a physiological or pathophysiological role and thus are most relevant for kinase inhibitor development.


This report extensively reviews small-molecule kinase inhibitors identified as being in active clinical development. Oncology indications accounted for 79% of these inhibitors, while inflammatory indications accounted for nearly half of the kinase inhibitors not being developed to treat cancers. Kinase inhibitors identified as being in clinical development are analyzed by clinical phase (Phases I–III) and by target.

Kinase Therapeutics: Pipeline Assessment and Commercial Prospects examines the considerable discrepancies in the levels of activities amongst major companies regarding kinase inhibitor development. The perceived tractability of kinases as drug targets has led to an increasing number of emerging companies focused on kinase inhibitor development. Many are developing kinase inhibitors in partnership with major companies, while others may be potential acquisition targets. Further, the desire to extensively profile kinase inhibitors has led to the emergence of companies that offer such services. The activities of selected specialist and service companies are also examined.

The period to 2015 should see a number of additional kinase inhibitors reach the market. As a result, annual revenues generated by kinase inhibitors should approximately double by 2015 from the near $8 billion generated in 2008. The large number of kinase inhibitors currently in Phase II should ensure that the period between 2015 and 2020 sees a steady flow of new kinase inhibitors approved for use, ensuring continued growth of their commercial revenues.

About the Author
Peter Norman, PhD, MBA is a pharmaceutical consultant and analyst based in Burnham Beeches, near Windsor, England. He has written and presented widely on various aspects of respiratory disease, drug development, and on the analysis of diverse therapeutic markets. Dr. Norman has over 20 years of experience of the pharmaceutical industry in both R&D and competitive intelligence. His publications include many reviews and 16 original scientific papers and 11 patents, together with a number of management reports. The latter have been published by a number of companies including FT Pharmaceuticals, Urch Publications, SMI and Decision Resources, Informa, and Insight Pharma Reports (a division of Cambridge Healthtech Institute). Dr. Norman holds science degrees from Cambridge University and Brunel University and an MBA degree from the Open University.