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Immuno-Oncology refers to the use of the body’s natural defences to fight disease. It works by stimulating the immune system instead of fighting the tumors, avoiding disturbance in functionality of healthy cells. It helps the immune system to recognize and target cancer cells. The therapy facilitates long term response against cancer by providing long-lasting memory to the immune system. Immuno-Oncology therapy works against a wide variety of cancer, which include non-small cell lung cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and others. Immuno-oncology uses different types of cell-based immune therapies such as monoclonal antibodies, immune checkpoint inhibitors, cytokine based immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, and other therapies. Depending on the functioning of these therapies they are further classified into subtypes such as radiolabeled antibodies, chemo labeled antibodies, and bispecific monoclonal antibodies. Commercially available immune-oncology therapies include Iplimumab, Nivolumab, Rituximab, Blinatumomab, Proleukin, Gardasil, and Kymriah.

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Introduction of novel immune-oncology therapies with lesser side effects is driving growth of the global immune-oncology drugs market

Improved therapeutic outcomes have led to increasing success rates against cancer, owing to in-depth understanding of the disease pathophysiology, functioning of the tumor cells, and effective ways to tackle with the same. Moreover, immuno-oncology therapies have lesser side effects compared to conventional cancer therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and others. Immuno-oncology therapy operates through the immune system of the body and does not harm healthy cells as opposed to conventional therapies such as targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy that affect cancerous as well as healthy cells. Novel immune therapies can restore the ability of the immune system to identify and eliminate cancer cells, which is generally suppressed during course of cancer progression. Such immuno-oncology based therapies can be tailored to attack or block particular targets. For instance, Iplimumab, a, human monoclonal antibody, which blocks cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 is available. Furthermore, agents focusing on specific immune regulatory checkpoints programmed death-1 (PD-1) and programmed death ligand-1 and 2 (PD-L1) such as Nivolumab, Atezolimumab, and Pembrolizumab are being used for cell lung cancer. Monoclonal antibodies have been further developed into conjugated monoclonal antibodies, which are combined with other agents such as radiolabeled antibodies and chemo labeled antibodies. Cancer vaccines have also been developed such as Sipuleucel-T, Gardasil, and Cervarix. These vaccines either work as preventive vaccines or therapeutic vaccines. Adoptive cell transfer therapies is a new therapy emerging in the immuno-oncology such as CAR-T Cell Therapy under, which Kymriah and Yescarta are available.

The global immuno-oncology drugs market was valued at US$ 43,084.5 million in 2016 and is expected to witness a robust CAGR of 14.9% over the forecast period (2017 – 2025).

Active research and development by leading players as well as small innovative organizations are expected to boost growth of the immune-oncology drugs market

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Owing to benefits associated with these therapies, the leading players are actively investing in research and development into this treatment category through various collaborations and individual research studies. For instance, EMD Serono is involved in research and development of immune-oncology drugs and has a few drugs in pipeline such as M7824 (investigational) bifunctional immunotherapy. In 2015, Merck & Co., a leading drug manufacturer and MD Anderson Cancer Center entered into a strategic clinical research collaboration for formers drug Keytruda (Pembrolizumab). Celsee Diagnostics and IncellDx announced an immuno-oncology research agreement in 2017. Bristol-Myers Squibb is developing immuno-oncology approaches for treatment of colorectal cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, liver cancer, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and others. Amgen, Inc. is actively involved in immune-oncology research and the company launched an immunotherapy collaboration with Kite Pharma to develop and commercialize chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells in 2015.

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Some major players operating in the immuno-oncology drugs market include Amgen, Inc. AstraZeneca Plc, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene Corporation, Eli Lilly and Company, Merck & Co., F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis International AG, AbbVie, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Sanofi S.A., EMD Serono, Inc., Gilead Sciences Inc., Prometheus Therapeutics & Diagnostics, Aduro BioTech, Galena Biopharma, Bavarian Nordic, Celldex Therapeutics, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, and Incyte.

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