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Cancer Immunotherapy Market Expected to Reach Nearly $9 Billion by 2022

Report foresees dominance of ipilimumab and immune checkpoint inhibitors

Decision Resources Group, a health care research firm located in Burlington, Mass., finds that the immunotherapy market will experience considerable growth through 2022, increasing from $1.1 billion in 2012 to nearly $9 billion in 2022 (corresponding to 23.8% annual growth) in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

This dramatic growth will be driven by the expected market entry of nine novel immunotherapies — including four immune checkpoint inhibitors and five therapeutic vaccines — in new oncology indications and/or patient populations.

Taken together, the anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) agent ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and the new immune checkpoint inhibitors that target the anti-programmed cell death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) pathway — including nivolumab (Bristol-Myers Squibb/Ono Pharmaceutical), pembrolizumab (MK-3475, Merck), MPDL-3280A (Roche/Genentech), and MEDI4736 (AstraZeneca/MedImmune) — are expected to capture 85% of the immunotherapy market by 2022.

“A plethora of immunotherapies are in development across a wide range of oncology indications, making this drug class one of the most exciting to watch,” said analyst Khurram Nawaz, MSc. “We anticipate that nivolumab will be the sales-leading agent among immunotherapies. However, it will face direct and intense competition from other anti-PD-1/PD-L1 agents — notably from pembrolizumab in malignant melanoma and non–small-cell lung cancer — and, to a lesser extent, from MPDL-3280A in non–small-cell lung cancer.”

Interviewed experts were optimistic about the potential of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 agents, based on promising data released to date in several oncology indications. Further, the added prospect of using PD-L1 expression as a potential predictive biomarker for personalizing treatment intrigued interviewed experts; however, they remained cautious on this point, noting that considerable heterogeneity exists in PD-L1 expression and that good objective responses have also been reported in patients deemed to have no or low levels of PD-L1 expression.

As a result of impressive early-stage data presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), interviewed experts expressed enthusiasm for combination approaches involving immunotherapies — including dual blockade of the immune checkpoint pathway; combinations of immune checkpoint inhibitors with therapeutic cancer vaccines; and combinations of immune checkpoint inhibitors with chemotherapy.

The survey also finds that therapeutic vaccines will experience 13.6% annual sales growth over the 2012 to 2022 forecast period, although, with combined major-market sales reaching $1.2 billion in 2022, these agents are expected to fall short of repeating the commercial success of immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Source: Decision Resources Group; June 30, 2014.

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