Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an endothelial cell-specific mitogen that stimulates the proliferation, migration and survival of endothelial cells. The human VEGF family consists of five ligands, namely, VEGF (or VEGF-A), VEGF-B VEGF-D VEGF-D and placental growth factor. Vascular endothelial growth factor is involved in several pathophysiological processes and is therefore a popular approach for developing therapies to treat related diseases such as cancers and macular degeneration. The market for VEGF antibodies is gaining traction since it offers several advantages over pharmaceuticals such as lower frequency of administration in product with extended half-life. It is noteworthy that the VEGF antibodies targeted towards treatment of cancer contributes to more than half of the global VEGF antibodies market revenue.
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Bevacizumab (Avastin) from Genentech-Roche is the first FDA approved recombinant monoclonal antibody developed to target VEGF for treating metastatic colorectal cancer in combination with the chemotherapy drugs such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Some of the major cancer types which can be treated using VEGF antibody therapy include advanced colorectal cancer, advanced non small cell lung cancer, metastatic breast cancer, and advanced renal cell cancer. Multiple clinical trials are ongoing to assess safety and efficacy of VEGF antibodies in variety of other malignancies and other diseases as well. It has been well acknowledged that the VEGF plays an important role in development of diabetic retinopathy and wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The anti-VEGF therapy may be ineffective in certain cases due to the complex VEGF pathway. For instance, Avastin becomes futile by tumor escape and relapse possibly due to up-regulation of alternate pro-angiogenic factors such as VEGF-C or VEFG-D. Therefore, research and development focusing on other ligands in the VEGF pathway, VEGF receptors and their tyrosine kinase signaling have been developed in the recent years. Apart from Avastin, the other agents which target the VEGF-mediated signaling pathway critical to angiogenesis include Cometriq (cabozantinib, Exelixis, Inc.), Cyramza (ramucirumab, Eli Lilly and Company), Eylea (aflibercept, Bayer Pharma AG), Jetrea, Lucentis (ranibizumab, Genentech), Macugen (pegaptanib, Valeant Pharmaceuticals), and Zaltrap (ziv-aflibercept, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.). In June 2014, Ceres Oncology Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of Circardian Technologies Limited) announced clinical and safety data for its VEFG-C antibody, VGX-100, in the patients with advanced solid tumors.
The success of first generation VEGF antibodies has laid foundation for the market development and patent expiry of these products are expected to provide opportunity for investing in biosimilars manufacturing as well as developing next generation products. In a very recent development in the market, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals received was granted the U.S. patent for its anti-DLL4/anti-VEGF bispecific antibody for using in cancer treatment. The activity of anti-DLL4 is expected to complement the action of anti-VEGF thereby forming a highly potent combination product for treating cancer. The global VEGF antibodies market is therefore expected to witness launch of several promising emerging therapies in the near future which shall possess novel mode of action and convenience of usage. Moreover, the increasing research in the personalized medicine and diagnostics will lead to targeting VEGF antibodies to only those patients who are likely to derive most benefit from targeted treatment. The optimization of therapy will increase efficacy and avoid certain toxicities resulting into more uptake of the products in the near future.
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Some of the key companies operating in the VEGF antibodies market include and Genentech (a Roche company), Abcam plc, Exelixis, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, Bayer Pharma AG, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ceres Oncology Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of Circardian Technologies Limited), Santen Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., and BioVision, Inc.
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