Immunocytokines are fusion proteins comprising a cytokine fused with a monoclonal antibody and are being viewed as a new class of biopharmaceuticals with great potential for cancer treatment. Immunocytokines aid in targeting specific tumors and generate immune responses to kill the tumor cells. Various antibody formats such as intact IgG and antibody fragments, along with tumor targets such as extracellular matrix components and cell membrane antigens, have been considered for development of immunocytokines. These pharmacologically active molecules have demonstrated lower toxicity and higher efficacy compared to several conventional cytokine-based therapies. Currently, immunocytokines are being studied for the treatment of various diseases besides cancer, such as chronic inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders.
According to a study published in Science Translational Medicine in October 2020, a new immunocytokine-based therapy could potentially aid in treatment of glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive types of cancer affecting the brain or spinal cord. A group of scientists – led by Dario Neri and Patrick Roth from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University Hospital Zurich, respectively – developed three L19-based immunocytokines, which first demonstrated anti-cancer activity in mouse models, and subsequently, in a human trail. Furthermore, in March 2021, Bright Peak Therapeutics Inc., a leading American biotechnology company developing next-generation cancer immunotherapies, announced its research collaboration with leading Japanese biopharmaceutical company, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. As part of the deal, Bright Peak signed an exclusive license agreement to use Ajinomoto’s proprietary bioconjugation technology, called AJICAP®, to develop Bright Peak Immunocytokines.
Revenue growth of the global immunocytokines market is majorly driven by factors such as rising prevalence of different types of cancer across the globe, growing awareness of early disease diagnosis and treatment among the population, and increasing demand for advanced diagnostics and therapeutics for treatment of cancer, autoimmune disorder, and other life-threatening diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer led to approximately 9.6 million deaths globally in 2018. Market revenue growth is further driven by factors such as increasing R&D activities for monoclonal antibodies, technological advancements in genetic sequencing techniques, and rising focus of various research and academic institutes on development of immunocytokines, particularly IL4, IL10, and TNF immunocytokines.