The immune system of human body depends on multiple checkpoints or immunological breaks, which avoid over-activation of the healthy cells or immune system. Tumor or cancerous cells often take advantage of these checkpoints to escape detection and fight against immune system. To struggle against such cancer cells, the focus of the scientists and drug developers is gradually diverting towards immunotherapeutics, which makes use of the body’s own immune system or its components to fight cancer. The developers have attained successful results with targeted based therapeutics including conjugated and monoclonal antibodies, but there has been a surge of interest in other classes of immunotherapeutics to treat and manage cancer, including immune checkpoint inhibitors, whole cell based therapies and therapeutic cancer vaccines.
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On the basis of immune checkpoint inhibitors currently used for treating and management of cancer, the market can be differentiated in two segments which are as follows:
- CLTA-4 Inhibitors
- PD-1 and PD-L1 Inhibitors
CLTA-4 is aberrantly up-regulated and is present of the surface of T cells in certain cancer, dampening T-cell activation in response to the tumor cells while PD-1 inhibits T-cell function assisting tumor’s ability to invade the immune system. Inhibiting a checkpoint enhance the anti-tumor T-cell response, which results in destruction of cancerous cells. Many giant players worldwide are performing clinical trials with the help of these two immune checkpoint inhibitors and are expected to show positive results during the forecast period. For instance, Pfizer, Inc. in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh is performing phase 2 clinical trials with Anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody to cure recurrent inoperable stage III or stage IV melanoma. Likewise, many other market players are performing clinical trials with CLTA-4 and PD-1 inhibitors and on the basis of previous results, is has been estimated that the molecules are expected to generate few efficient drugs for cancer treatment. In addition to these, many market players have developed some novel immune checkpoint inhibitors which include Elotuzumab, INCB024360, Indoximod, and Lirilumab.
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Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors Market: Drivers and Trends
Rising prevalence of the cancer worldwide is the major factor which will boost the immune checkpoint inhibitors market during the forecast period. According to World Health Organization (WHO), cancer was the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in 2012. There were approximately 14 million new cases with 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012 worldwide. It has also been reported that the number of new cases will increase by about 70% in the next two decades. Increasing prevalence of the cancer and high rate of associated mortality is demanding for new and effective treatment methods, which will boost the demand for immune checkpoint inhibitors in future.
Moreover, the rising government support and funding towards development of new drugs for cancer treatment also encourages researchers in developing new and novel drugs. For instance, National Cancer Institute, U.S. Department of Human Health and Services, funded approximately USD 5.1 billion for development of cancer treatment drugs and research. The funding from government boosts the research activities and development of new and effective drugs, hence propelling the growth of the market. However, the high cost associated with research activities and sunk costs involved in R&D activities are restraining the immune checkpoint inhibitors market.
The major players which are involved in research and development activities of immune checkpoint inhibitors include Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Astra Zeneca plc, Merck & Co., Pfizer, Inc., F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Incyte Corporation, NewLink Genetics Corporation, Seattle Genetics, Inc., Celldex Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline plc, and Innate Pharma S.A.