Commercial prospects for immuno-oncology development across oncology indications in untapped cancer types or in combinations

Immuno-oncology (IO) development is booming across the 8MM (US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan and China), with IO agents being investigated in most cancer types, in combination or alone, representing a huge commercial opportunity for established players and novel developers alike, says GlobalData

GlobalData’s latest report, Immuno-oncology Development Trends and Opportunities, combines research with a global, cross-specialty key opinion leader panel, with in-depth analysis of development opportunities for IO in 17 key indications.

As of September 2018, there were 1054 IO agents in clinical development, filed or marketed in the five main classes: bispecific antibody, cancer vaccine, cell therapy, checkpoint modulator, or oncolytic virus in the 8MM.

Chloé Thépaut, Senior Oncology Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Developers are investigating agents across many solid tumours and blood cancers, leaving limited opportunities for developers to explore entirely new patient populations. However, opportunities remain for development in niche indications to set their IO agents apart in an increasingly crowded field.”

GlobalData’s report also finds that much of the ongoing development for IO includes combination studies. Approved IO agents of all five classes are being investigated alone and in combinations, but there is no trend so far for the preferred IO combination partners across classes.

Thépaut continues: “Although there is no definite trend for preferred combination types, checkpoint modulators, bispecific antibodies, and oncolytic viruses are more likely to be tested and further developed as combination regimens, whereas cell therapies and cancer vaccines tend to be tested as monotherapies; there is a lot of scope for research for developers to find effective combinations.”

GlobalData’s report identifies that Keytruda’s tumour-agnostic approval for microsatellite instability high or mismatch repair deficient cancers, has earned it a place in treatment guidelines for several indications, including for cancers for which it does not hold an indication-specific approval, such as prostate and pancreatic cancers.

Thépaut concludes: “Developers with novel candidates could explore biomarker-directed development to increase potential market, as guidelines increasingly do not favour products specifically approved for a certain tumour type.”

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