marine bioprospecting - Novel Drugs from the Sea

Need for more anticancer drugs

The incidence of cancer worldwide is fast rising. According to American Cancer Society* the global cancer burden is expected to get nearly doubled by 2030 by growing to 21.4 million cases and 13.2 million deaths per year. The increase is considered to be a result of both demographic changes (a growing and aging population) and adoption of unhealthy lifestyles (smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity). The rise in cancer incidence has made cancer one of pharmaceutical industry’s top prioritized R&D areas the last decades. But in spite of entries of several new cancer therapeutics, there is a continuous medical need for more anticancer drugs securing and extending the repertoire of treatment options.

“The Public, and the biomedical community , have an insatiable appetite for new cancer drugs”; Stephen Neidle; Cancer Drug Design and Discovery, 2014

“Is Anticancer Drug Development Heading in the Right Direction?....the search for new anticancer agents needs to continue on as many fronts as possible, and not be focused on one strategy alone”, Trevor W. Hambley, Cancer Res 2009;69(4):1259–62; Read more on

“Due to their numerous advantages and increased applications in treatment of cancer and other disorders, HPAPIs** and cytotoxics have emerged as one of the key focus areas of researchers across the globe.” Read more on

“Increasing recurrence of mammalian tumors and severe side-effects of chemotherapeutic agents reduce the clinical efficacy of a large variety of anticancer agents that are currently being used. Thus, there is always a constant need to develop alternative or synergistic anticancer drugs with minimal side-effects. One important strategy to develop effective anticancer agents is to study into anticancer agents derived from natural sources.” Anticancer Res. 2012 Jul;32(7):2999-3005; Read more on

“The global market for oncology drugs reached $91 billion in 2013”, IMS Health, 2014

 “Cancer, with a death toll exceeding that of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), tuberculosis and malaria collectively, accounted for 8.3 million deaths in 2013. With a skyrocketing incidence of 469.6 per 100,000 in the US alone, the oncology market is poised to grow at a substantial CAGR of around seven percent to $109 billion by 2020”. Read more on

“Owing to high unmet needs, the oncology market would continue to grow at a moderate pace, driven by rising aging population, hopping incidence rates, expedited FDA approvals, booming urbanisation, enhanced diagnosis and rising adoption of combination therapies. Conversely, sky-high prices, limited reimbursement, high patient out-of-pocket costs and lack of screening and awareness in developing regions are the major restraints” Read more on

As treatment costs linked to newer cancer treatment regimens are fast escalating to high and patient-discriminating levels, it will be important to identify new effective and selective anticancer products which can be manufactured, marketed and sold at an affordable non-discriminating price but still at good margins for the manufacturer. The MarBiLeads anticancer lead compounds will comply with this goal.  

*) Global Cancer Facts & Figures , 2nd Edition; Read more on

**) HPAPIs = High Potency Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients