Therapeutic areas

Cancer - A global challenge

Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the world, accounting for around 20 per cent of deaths in the West. Globally, more than 19 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year and nearly 10 million die from cancer-related diseases [1]. Despite significant advances in treatment and diagnosis, there is great need for new treatment methods.

Cantargia initially focused its development of nadunolimab (CAN04) on non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. As IL1RAP, the target molecule of CAN04, is found on multiple solid tumors, there is potential to utilize Cantargia’s immunooncology platform for treatment of several cancer types. For this reason, the development of CAN04 has been broadened to additional forms of cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer.

The market for lung cancer treatment

In 2020, around 2.3 million cases of lung cancer were diagnosed globally and more than 1.8 million people died from the disease [1]. Around 85 per cent of all lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer [2], which is subdivided into the squamous and non-squamous subgroups, where the latter is the largest and corresponds to 70-80 per cent of all cases [3]. In the United States, the number of people diagnosed with lung cancer has decreased by approximately 27 per cent over the past 20 years, while the number of people diagnosed with this disease is increasing in countries such as China and India, and in European countries such as Hungary, Denmark and Serbia.

Sales of drugs for non-small cell lung cancer totalled USD 20 billion in 2020 and are projected to increase to USD 45 billion by 2027 [4]. Sales are driven mainly by increasing use of various antibody-based immunotherapies and the increasing incidence of lung cancer in many countries, as mentioned above.

The market for pancreatic cancer treatment

Globally, approximately 495,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed in 2020. In the same year, 466,000 people died from the disease [1]. In the United States, the number of people diagnosed with the disease has increased by nearly 13 per cent over the past 20 years and pancreatic cancer is today the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States [5]. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose, and for this reason, it is also difficult to treat as it is often well advanced by the time it is discovered.

Pancreatic cancer treatment was valued at approximately USD 2.4 billion in the eight largest markets in 2021 and is expected to grow to approximately USD 4.2 billion by 2026 [6]. This corresponds to an annual growth rate of just over 8 per cent during these years. The number of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is estimated to increase by 70 per cent by 2040 [1]. The increase in the number of cases is in turn caused by an aging population and the increasing incidence of diabetes, which are both risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer. Improved diagnostics also contribute to the expected market growth as they increase the likelihood of discovering pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage, thus enabling treatment.

Number of new cancer cases in the US per 100,000 inhabitants. Source: SEER Cancer Statistics Review

The market for breast cancer treatment

Breast cancer is currently the most common form of cancer. In 2020, approximately 2.3 million new cases were reported, and approximately 685,000 women died from the disease. In 2040, around 3.2 million women are expected to be diagnosed with the disease and just over one million will die as a result of the disease [1].

The global market for breast cancer treatment amounted to approximately USD 15 billion in 2021 and is expected to increase to USD 20 billion by 2025, corresponding to an annual growth rate of approximately 13 per cent [7]. The market growth is primarily caused by an increased incidence of the disease, but also the need for preventive measures and early treatment.

Approximately 10-15 per cent of breast cancer cases are triple-negative breast cancer. The market for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer is expected to be worth over USD 820 million by 2027 following an annual growth rate of approximately 4.5 per cent between 2020 and 2027 [8].

The market for Cantargia’s other indication areas

In addition to studies in the indications described above, Cantargia is also conducting studies of CAN04 in other indications. These are head and neck cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, biliary tract cancer, colon cancer and acute myeloid leukemia. The incidence, mortality and estimated current and future market size of these indications are accounted for below [9].

The market for systemic sclerosis and myocarditis

In Cantargia’s second project, CAN10, the objective is to develop a novel IL1RAP-binding antibody primarily for the treatment of systemic sclerosis and myocarditis.

Systemic sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease that is mainly characterized by inflammation and fibrosis of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, as well as blood vessels and internal organs such as the lungs, heart, and kidneys. Systemic sclerosis is a complex, heterogeneous disease that can occur with a variety of clinical manifestations.

The estimated annual incidence of systemic sclerosis is approximately 1.4 per 100,000 [10]. The main cause of death in patients with systemic sclerosis is interstitial lung disease and the medical need is particularly high in these patients. The worth of the pharmaceutical market for systemic sclerosis was estimated to approximately USD 500 million in 2020 and is expected to grow to USD 1.8 billion by 2030 in the seven major markets [11]. This corresponds to an average annual growth rate of 14 per cent.

Myocarditis is characterized by inflammation of the muscular tissues of the heart (myocardium) arising from, for example, various types of infections. Regardless of its etiology, myocarditis is characterized by initial acute inflammation that can progress to subacute and chronic stages, resulting in fibrosis and loss of contractile function. The estimated incidence of myocarditis is about 22 per 100,000 (1.7 million) [12], and globally the disease accounts for about 0.6 deaths per 100,000 (46,400) annually [13].


[1] Globocan 2020


[3] Paz-Ares et al. N Engl J Med 2018; 379:2040-2051

[4] Reportlinker, Global Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Therapeutics Industry

[5] American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2021

[6], Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Market Research Report - Global Forecast to 2026

[7] Research and Markets, Breast Cancer Drugs Global Market Report 2021

[8] FutureWise, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treatment Market By Drug Type, 2020-2027

[9] ResearchAndMarkets, Global Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Drug Market Analysis and Forecasts, 2021-2030; Market Data Forecast, Global Melanoma Therapeutics Market - Industry Forecast; Reportlinker, Bladder Cancer Drugs Global Market Report 2022; Coherent Market Insights, Bile Duct Cancer Market Size, Trends and Forecast to 2021 – 2028; Market Study Report, Report on Global Colorectal Cancer Drugs Market; ResearchAndMarkets, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Therapeutics - Global Market Trajectory & Analytics

[10] Bairkdar, Rossides, Westerlind, Hesselstrand, Arkema, Holmqvist. Incidence and prevalence of systemic sclerosis globally: A comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis, Rheumatology 2021:7

[11] GlobalData, Systemic Sclerosis: Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2030

[12] J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016 Nov 29;68(21):2348-2364

[13] Lancet. 2018; 392:1736-88