Over 2,700 immunological anticancer products—therapies that mobilize the body’s immune system to identify and attack cancer cells—are expected to hit the R&D pipeline this year, leading the list of top therapeutic categories reported in the Pharma R&D Annual Review for 2019.
The report was put out by Citeline’s Pharmaprojects, which has been covering pharma R&D across global markets for over 35 years.
In total, anticancer therapies are expected to increase its pipeline size by 9.3 percent to 5,697 active drugs in 2019. This is the greatest expansion rate of all of the therapeutic areas.
Therapeutics targeting cancer have shown huge growth in recent years. In the year 2010, more than a quarter of all drugs in development had a cancer indication, increasing to 35.2 percent this year. Various forms of cancer account for 14 of the top 20 diseases worldwide with active drugs in the pipeline, with breast, lung, colorectal, ovarian and pancreatic cancers being the most common.
Immunological anticancer therapies were rated number two last year (2,345 new products), just behind other forms of anticancer therapies. Immunological approaches to treating cancer—which include the use of monoclonal antibodies, CAR-T cell therapies and other immuno-oncology techniques—is expected to show a 16.5 percent increase this year (2,731 new products).
The report predicted that other anticancer therapeutics would have 2,450 new products in the R&D pipeline in 2019, a 3.2 percent growth from last year. This therapy led the world in R&D products in 2018, releasing 2,374 products into the pipeline.
Jumping from number six last year to number three in 2019 is gene therapy. This is its highest position on the list since the year 2002 because of setbacks during clinical trial research during 2002-2015. The increase in new products is likely due to the success of new CAR-T and CRISPR therapies in recent years.
Monocolonal antibody, anti-infective prophylactic vaccines, ophthalmological, antidiabetic, neurological, immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatories rounded out the rest of the projected top 10 therapeutic categories worldwide in 2019, by number of products in R&D phases.