The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is defined as a transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor involved in the survival and proliferation of the cancerous cells. Any kind of mutations affecting these EFGR receptors or activity could results in cancer. Mutations lead to over-expresion resulting in large number of cancer, including lung cancer, anal cancer and glioblastoma multiforme. EGFR receptors are the first molecule target against which monoclonal antibodies (mAb) have been designed for cancer treatment. These monoclonal antibodies are sometimes also referred as EGFR antibodies. EGFR antibodies market can be segmented on the basis of the major antibodies which are used against EGFR receptors which include:
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Cetuximab (erbitux) and panitumumab (vecitibix) are the most preferred biosimilar EGFR antibodies which are used for treatment of cancer. These antibodies have demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of colorectal cancer as single agents and in combination with conventional chemotherapy. Since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved cetuximab in 2003 and panitumumab in 2006, EGFR antibodies have become primary step of treatment algorithms for colorectal cancer. However, nimotuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that as of 2014 is recognized under orphan drugs status in the U.S. and the European Union for the treatment of glioma. This drug has also achieved marketing approval in India and China for squamaus cell carcinoma of the neck and head, and is currently undergoing numerous clinical trials.
Additionally, many market players and research institutions are performing research activities on development of the biosuperior EGFR antibodies against cancerous cells. The most common biosuperior EGFR antibodies include engineered EGFR antibodies, Bi- and Multi-specific EGFR antibodies and EGFR antibody drug conjugates. As for instance, Hoffmann-La Roche is performing a phase 1b study of MPDL3280A (and engineered antibody) in combination with Tarceva in patients suffering from non-small cell lung cancer. Such extensive research and development activities associated with the development of EGFR antibodies biosuperiors is the major factor which is driving this market. However, the high cost associated with research activities and sunk cost involved in R&D activities restrains the EGFR antibodies market.
Moreover, the increasing incidence of cancer worldwide is also demanding for the more effective treatment methods, which is encouraging the researchers to develop EGFR antibodies. According to World Health Organization (WHO), cancer was the leading cause of death in 2012, accounting for 8.2 million deaths worldwide. Lung, liver, colorectal, stomach and breast cancers were responsible for most of the deaths every year. Statistics also revealed that breast cancer incidence had risen by more than 20% in 2012 from 2009, while breast cancer mortality rate has increased by 14%. Due to harsh lifestyle, excessive intake of alcohol and smoking habits, the incidence of cancer is increasing rapidly worldwide, especially in developed economies of North America and Europe. Increasing morbidity and mortality rate among the cancer patients is fuelling the demand for EGFR antibodies, hence driving the market.
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Some of the market players which are actively contributing towards EGFR antibodies market include Amgen, Inc., Eisai, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Eli Lilly and Company, Merck KGaA, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Inc., Biocon Ltd., Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. and Immunogen, Inc.