Novocure is a commercial-stage oncology company based in Saint Helier, Jersey. It develops treatments for solid-tumor cancers. Founded in 2000, Novocure is behind a new kind of cancer treatment called Optune, which uses electrical fields to attack brain tumors called glioblastomas. This kind of cancer is highly malignant and has a very low survival rate: The median survival length is 14.6 months. Only 10% of patients with glioblastomas live for longer than five years. Optune doesn't ensure survival, but it does seem to increase the number of patients who survive longer. In 2015, Novocure got the nod from the FDA to be used as a first-line treatment in new cases. In November, a trial study showed patients who receive Optune treatment alongside chemo early in their diagnosis lived significantly longer (a 39% reduced risk of death) than patients who received chemo alone--the first FDA-approved therapy in more than a decade to do so. Optune can be used as an alternative to chemotherapy and produce similar survival rates while relieving patients of the harsh side effects normally associated with traditional drug and radiation treatments. Now the company, which markets its treatments in the U.S., the European Union, Switzerland, and Japan, is looking to move beyond just glioblastomas to use its Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) against other kinds of devastating cancer, like pancreatic and ovarian.
The company's competitive advantage in 2016:
Huge sales opportunity and a large potential patient pool
The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016:
High price point
A need for more centers certified in treatment
What to look out for:
An expansion of its product suite
Ongoing trials for pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and brain metastasis.
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