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McKinsey Cancer Center

Helping clients discover, develop, and distribute more effective medicines, deliver better care, and provide broader access to solutions that help patients and their families combat cancer.

The McKinsey Cancer Center (McKCC) combines the extensive cross-functional oncology experience of our team with methodologies for generating deep market insights, advanced-analytics platforms, and input from a network of leading external experts. We work to advance cutting-edge oncology innovations (both therapeutic and diagnostic) with pharmaceutical and biotech companies and investors. Approaches we design make it possible for health-care providers to deliver better care, and solutions we propose help health systems and policy makers realize the best possible outcomes for cancer patients. Operating in all geographies, the McKinsey Cancer Center conducts more than 100 client engagements annually across strategy, R&D, business development, marketing and sales, market access and policy, and care-delivery topics. We share our cutting-edge knowledge at international oncology conferences, as well as in peer-reviewed publications and other leading industry journals.

How we help clients

Cross-sector expertise

The McKinsey Cancer Center provides industry-leading oncology expertise across geographies and industry sectors, including pharmaceuticals and biotech, specialty pharmacies, investors, national health systems, providers, and private and public payers.

A global network

Our network of leading experts and our own internal knowledge investments give us rapid access to cutting-edge oncology expertise. We work closely with an external scientific advisory board of 20 renowned oncology clinician–scientists, plus internal experts with oncology training and deep industry experience. Through partnerships and innovative research approaches, we also collaborate on market research with multiple expert-network providers.

Conferences and meetings

We convene experts across the world to share the latest thinking and research at hosted events, such as the McKinsey Cancer Congress Series at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) conferences. In addition, we routinely attend key conferences of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Society of Hematology (ASH), and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).

Publications and perspectives

Our latest insights are featured in peer-reviewed and other journals—for example, the Lancet, on the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP), documenting discrepancies in cancer-survival rates. We also publish with the World Innovation Summit for Health (perspectives on affordable cancer care) and in McKinsey’s Health International (insights on health systems and optimizing clinical care). Our perspectives on specific topics, such as new therapeutic technologies and changes in oncology’s development paradigm, regularly appear in print.

Featured event

McKinsey Cancer Congress Series at ASCO 2020

On May 29th this year, we will hold our McKinsey Cancer Congress Series symposium at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. This year, we expect our participants and panelists to join an engaging discussion on the topic of cell therapies and how we move beyond CARs in the space. 

In order to register your interest for the event, please contact

Examples of our work

100+ client engagements a year

in pharma, biotech, cancer centers, intermediaries, payers and health systems, private equity and other investors, and nonprofits

Major oncology-engagement types

including marketing and sales, R&D, business development, market access, care delivery, strategy, organization, operations, and corporate finance

Broad set of capabilities deployed

leveraging proprietary data, digital and advanced analytics platforms, market research and information capabilities, and broad functional and industry expertise

Operating in all geographies

including mature and developing markets, serving both multinational corporations and local players

Creating a multibillion-dollar oncology leader

The McKinsey Cancer Center supported the carve-out of an oncology franchise by helping to strengthen R&D capabilities and partnerships in a dedicated innovation unit, integrating two portfolios into a larger franchise, and out-licensing select Phase II and III assets. This effort created a multibillion-dollar oncology leader and an agile oncology R&D innovator.

Delivering one of pharma’s top three product launches

We helped drive uptake of a $3 billion blockbuster drug by defining its launch-readiness road map for a regional organization and more than 15 affiliates, supporting the launch performance of $300 million in first-year sales, closing country launch-execution gaps, and helping to exceed analysts’ projections fivefold.

Building a cancer franchise from scratch

In 12 months, we helped build a $3 billion oncology franchise by supporting its go-to-market plan, licensing deals, and M&A; blueprinting a 150-person global, regional, and local launch organization; and supporting the integration of an acquired oncology portfolio and organization.

Designing a roadmap to reduce cancer mortality by 15 percent

We identified initiatives to save the lives of up to 400 colorectal-cancer patients a year by redesigning the care pathway in five health systems across the globe and identifying improvements in care to reduce mortality by up to 15 percent. In addition, we defined cost-savings opportunities of $100 million (10 percent of annual health-system spending).

Defining new outcomes based partnerships

We helped develop a suite of over 400 solutions and services associated with different oncology products (such as inpatient and outpatient) for outcomes-based partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and national or regional payers. These solutions give patients earlier access to specific medicines in multiple health systems.

Featured insights


Precision medicine: Opening the aperture

– To keep pace with the evolving ecosystem for precision medicine, pharma players must be attuned to three crucial components: data... collection, individualized solutions, and supporting business models.

Data driven decisions in cancer care

– EMR- and biomarker-based diagnostics are now ubiquitous in oncology. But several factors hinder greater use of automation and... analytics-driven decisions. This paper examines these limitations and suggests solutions.

Launches in oncology: The elements of success

– As the prevalence and severity of cancer has increased, the drug landscape has shifted. Oncology drug launches are increasingly... critical and require a dedicated approach. Here’s what it entails.

Real-world evidence: Driving a new drug-development paradigm in oncology

– The potential for real-world evidence is expanding, particularly in oncology drug development. To compete, some companies are... investing in robust real-world data and analytic capabilities.

Related Insights

Improving colorectal cancer care using a pathway approach

Based on the collective effort of 5 health systems in the Global Colorectal Cancer Improvement Network, this report lays out a... global improvement agenda for colorectal cancer.

Cancer survival in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, 1995-2007

This is the first study in a programme to investigate international survival disparities, with the aim of informing health policy... to raise standards and reduce inequalities in survival.

Delivering affordable cancer care: a value challenge to health systems

Report of the WISH Delivering Affordable Cancer Care Forum 2015.

New at McKinsey blog

Blog Post

Boosting the systems that fight cancer: Meet our oncology experts

– A paradox of our time: we’re living longer, healthier lives, but cancer’s impact on them will only increase.

Connect with McKinsey Cancer Center