The global natural killer (NK) cell therapeutics market is expected to witness considerable growth due to increasing awareness regarding immunotherapy, advancement in technologies, high demand for safe and effective medication, reduction of side effects, high prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and increasing incidences of infectious diseases. The regulatory bodies are supporting the growth of the global market by providing funding, designations and grants for speeding up the drug development process. Some drug candidates, such as Mogamulizumab, Lorvotuzumab Mertansine, AFM 13, FPA144, and NKTT-120, got orphan drug designation and fast track designation for NK cell therapeutics.
The pipeline of NK cell therapeutics market is rich with more than 30 drugs. The pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in the research and development of drug for NK cells. Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd. has Mogamulizumab drug in its Phase III clinical trial for NK cells therapeutics. Increasing use of combination therapy of NK cells is also a potential growth driver for the growth of the global market. Use of NK cells with Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell therapy helps to enhance the efficacy of the medication.
NK cells are granular lymphocytes that provide innate immunity and first line of defense against viral infections and cancer. Natural killer cells are made up of 5–15% circulating lymphocytes. It is found in peripheral tissues including liver, peritoneal cavity, and placenta. NK cell are activated by interleukins that is capable of extravasations and infiltration into tissues.
The pharmaceutical companies are collaborating with each other for research and development of NK cell therapeutics. For instance, in January 2016, Sanofi and Innate Pharma entered into research collaboration and licensing agreement to apply Innate Pharma’s new proprietary technology for the development of bispecific antibody formats engaging NK cells to kill tumor cells. The drug candidate has utilized the NK cells engagers bispecific antibodies technology to create novel molecular formats for engaging NK cells for tumor cells lysis. The bispecific antibodies specifically trigger NK cells instead of T cells, which may reduce the risk of the side-effects associated with T cell engagers.
However, certain factors such as side effects of NK cell medication, complex pathophysiology, and high treatment cost of NK cells are expected to hamper the growth of the global market during the forecast period.
Some of the key players operating in the global NK cells market are Chipscreen Biosciences, Ltd. Affimed N.V., Altor BioScience Corporation, Innate Pharma S.A., Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, Sorrento Therapeutics Inc., NantKwest Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, and NKT Therapeutics, Inc.