Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is a devastating malignancy with an extremely poor prognosis. These tumors progress rapidly and somewhat silently with few specific symptoms and are relatively resistant to chemotherapeutic agents. Many agents, including cell cycle inhibitors, are under development for the treatment of this cancer for which there are disappointingly few treatment options. Areas covered: Here we outline the existing approved treatments for advanced pancreatic disease and discuss a range of novel therapies currently under development including cell cycle inhibitors, stromal modifiers and conjugated therapies. We also describe the current state of the pancreatic cancer therapeutics market both past and future. Expert opinion: Despite the recent explosion of novel therapies with an array of unique targets, the core treatment of pancreatic cancer still with traditional cytotoxic agents with a few exceptions. However, as these novel treatments move through the pipeline, we are hopeful that there will soon be a number of effective options for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.