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Targeted oncology is having a moment, again

Buysiders view 2021 as a window of opportunity for investing in targeted cancer drugs

Buysiders say they view 2021 as a window of opportunity for investing in targeted cancer therapies.

Jan 9, 2021 | 3:16 AM GMT

The pandemic has only deepened the already heavily-weighted oncology focus of many portfolios, and it’s targeted oncology opportunities that are catching the eyes of buysiders in 2021.

A combination of new drug approvals, high-value deals and positive clinical readouts in 2020 set the stage for strong interest from investors, who are homing in on late-stage milestones for novel targets, including KRAS, as key catalysts this year. 

Targeted therapies have sparked fresh enthusiasm as advances in genomics and drug design have created a next generation of highly target-selective — or even mutation-selective — inhibitors, many of which have produced exceptional efficacy in genetically defined patient subsets.

Coupled with oncology trials and revenues being relatively immune to the pandemic-related disruptions seen in other disease areas, the developments in targeted therapies have opened a new window of opportunity for investors to find value in the established field. 

As the first crop of highly selective inhibitors against several targets reaches the market, drug developers are busy carving up the landscape of genetically-defined cancers. Meanwhile, buysiders see 2021 as a chance to draw value from the lead assets before they’re diluted by fast-follower competition. 

“Targeted therapies are  getting acquired at big valuations. We’re always surprised by how willing pharma is to pay for targeted oncology, and there will be more,” said Les Funtleyder, healthcare portfolio manager at

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