The global immune checkpoint inhibitors market is expected to witness significant growth as these are proven to be more effective therapy in shrinking tumor in higher proportion of patients, as compared to other immunotherapies. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are applicable to a wider range of tumor types such as advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, renal cancer and melanoma. These inhibitors lower the rate of severe toxicities and immune-mediated side-effects. These are also convenient to administer and yield a good response rate of any single-agent immunotherapy.
The pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in the research and development of drug for immune checkpoint inhibitors. The pipeline of immune checkpoint inhibitors is rich with more than 50 drugs. In November 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Infinity Pharmaceuticals collaborated to check the efficacy of combination of Opdivo (a PD-1 inhibitor monoclonal antibody) and IPI-549 (a phosphoinositide-3-kinase gamma inhibitor) in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Immune checkpoints comprised of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitors and PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors. CTLA-4 drug are molecules used to regulate, stimulate or inactivate the immune cells. PD-1 is found on the surface of cancer cells and it is used by tumors to evade the immune system; therefore, PD-1 inhibitor blocks PD-1 action and enables the body to attack and kill cancer cells. PD-L1 is a transmembrane protein of 40kDa that helps in suppressing the immune system during tissue allograft, pregnancy, autoimmune disease, hepatitis and other diseases.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are showing good efficacy with PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors and CTLA-4 inhibitors. Yervoy, an anti-CTLA-4 product of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company got approved in the year 2011. The increased use of combination therapy of PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors represent a new signal of immunotherapeutics, which is expected to alter the standard of care for cancer across the globe. However, the development of effective immunotherapy presents some challenges due to complex pathophysiology of cancer and difficulty in managing treatment related toxic effects, which is expected to hamper the growth of the global market to some extent.
Geographically, North America was the largest market for immune checkpoint inhibitors in 2015, owing to the large number of research and development activities, high healthcare expenditure, and high prevalence of cancer. The U.S. contributed largest revenue to the North American immune checkpoint inhibitors market and it is expected to remain the largest market globally, during the forecast period.
Some of the key players operating in the global market are Merck & Co., Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, AstraZeneca plc, Pfizer Inc., F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Novartis AG, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and TG Therapeutics, Inc.