Immunocytokines are defined as the category of molecules made by linking tumor-reactive monoclonal antibodies with cytokines leading to activation of immune cells. This molecule is majorly used to treat tumors as tumor selective localization is possible due to ability of molecular antibodies element to bind with molecules on tumor cell surface or molecule activating immune cells with appropriate receptors. The market for the immunocytokines is majorly classified into three segments, on the basis of disease condition, targeting sites and clinical trials. Based on disease conditions, the immunocytokines market is divided into three classes namely cancer and tumor, rheumatoid arthritis and others. On the basis of targeting sites, the market is divided into following segments:
- Bone marrow endothelium
- Fat muscle
- B and T lymphocytes
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For several years, the development of new cytokines was stagnated majorly because of dose-limiting toxicities. However, the recent research and development activities combined with engineering of cytokines have lead to the introduction of new molecular entities with better safety and tolerability. Immunocytokines field is currently undergoing clinical trials and the major clinical progress made with immunocytokines is linked with human interlukin-2 to select number of tumor reactive molecular antibodies. Major research and clinical trials performed in immunocytokines market majorly consist of following categories:
- Immunocytokines with tumor necrosis factor
- Immunocytokines with first generation Interleukin-2
- Immunocytokines with second generation Interleukin-2
- Immunocytokines with Interleukin-10
- Immunocytokines with Interleukin-12
- Immunocytokines with Interleukin-15
- Immunocytokines with Interferon
The companies, which are targeting tumor sites with the help of immunocytokines in the market, have mentioned certain important information in their project description. The information which is listed includes drug codes, mechanism of action, class of compound, company, product category, indication and research and development stage. The in-vivo performance of immunocytokines crucially depends upon some of the molecular determinants namely molecular format, target antigen and valence, which is also mentioned in project details. Merck KGaA was the first company involved in research with immunocytokines and started with DI-Leu16-IL2, intellectual property owned by Merck KGaA. The company is currently involved in development of two new immunocytokines based on antibody targets and these immunocytokines are validated for high level expression in their respective cancer type. These include metastic melanoma, targeting CSPG4 and prostate cancer, EpCAM is targeted molecule as initial disease indication. The research has been performed on these molecules so that they could be useful for other cancers expressing same target.
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Large number of companies across Europe and North America are performing clinical trials on immunocytokines driven by higher prevalence of cancer in the region. The pharmaceutical companies based in Asia-Pacific region are also showing growth in this market majorly due to growing government support towards research and development in healthcare sectors in countries such as Japan, India, Malaysia and China. Substantial side effects and unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties are the major restraints which the companies will face, hampering the administration of therapeutically relevant doses.
Some of the key players involved in clinical trials in the market of immunocytokines are Alkermes Plc, Alopexx Oncology, Altor Biosciences Corporation, Apeiron Biologics AG, AstraZeneca Plc, CytImmune, Cytune Pharma, ImmunGene, Inc., Immunomedics, Inc., Merck KGaA, MolMed S.p.A., Nektar Therapeutics, Paladin Labs, Pfizer, Inc., F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd., Targa Therapeutics Corporation, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Valor Biotherapeutics.
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