The Global Natural Killer (NK) Cell Therapeutics market is estimated to grow at a robust CAGR of 51.8% during the forecast period of 2022-2028. The market growth is attributed to the increasing interest of the pharmaceutical industry players in cellular immunotherapy. NK cell therapeutics is anticipated to witness robust growth during the forecast period owing to its ability to fulfil unmet medical needs, overcome limitations associated with existing immunotherapies, and address complex and challenging targets.
The recent increase in the number of approvals received for cancer immunotherapies is considered to have added value to the NK cell therapeutic market. Moreover, market players are making efforts for the development of novel NK cell therapies which further gives a boost to the growth of the market. For instance, in May 2022, Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Dragonfly Therapeutics announced a collaboration designed to advance a number of Dragonfly’s novel natural killer (NK) cell engager-based immunotherapies for oncology and inflammation indications.
Under the agreement, Gilead would receive an exclusive, worldwide license from Dragonfly for the 5T4-targeting investigational immunotherapy program, DF7001. DF7001 is a TriNKET designed to activate and direct NK and cytotoxic T cell killing against cancer cells. The target of DF7001 is 5T4, a protein expressed on cancer cells and stromal cells that support tumor growth associated with poor prognosis in several cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC).
Cancer segment dominates the NK Cell Therapeutics Market
Based on the application, cancer segment is estimated to dominate the market and is projected to do so during the forecast period. The segmental growth is attributed to the adoption of NK cell therapies for the treatment of various types of cancer. Moreover, the increasing prevalence of cancer creates demand for novel therapies for the treatment and hence drives the segmental growth of the market. Further, increasing approval by the FDA for the NK cell therapies for various cancer types coupled with the efforts by key market players for the development of NK cell therapies further gives a boost to the segmental growth of the market.
NK cells are the focus of a growing number of companies pursuing next-generation cell therapies for cancer. NK cells might turn out to be the next big thing in cancer treatment, offering off-the-shelf products capable of addressing more types of cancer compared to the first-generation cell therapies made from a patient’s own T cells. Moreover, the presence of key market players in the region further gives a boost to the regional growth of the market.
North America contributes a prominent share to the market growth
North America is dominating the global NK cell therapeutics on account of the high demand for NK cell therapies and the increasing prevalence of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the number of new cancer cases and mortality in 2021 was estimated at 1.9 million and 608,570 respectively in the US. Healthcare institutes in the US are actively focusing on the development of novel therapies for cancer treatment which has pushed the regulatory clearance of new drugs in recent times.
For instance, in December 2021, the FDA cleared an investigational new drug application for CYNK-101, an NK cell therapy for the treatment of patients with advanced HER2/neu-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. The clearance includes the use of investigational cell therapy in combination with chemotherapy, trastuzumab (Herceptin, Genentech), and pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck).
Europe is expected to hold a considerable market share in the global NK cell therapeutics market. The regional growth is attributed to the well-established healthcare infrastructure coupled with the presence of large industry players across the European countries. The Asia Pacific is expected to grow at a significant growth rate owing to increasing cancer prevalence and growing R&D efforts in the development of novel therapies in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea. The Middle East & Africa and Latin America are expected to observe a moderate growth rate on account of significant healthcare expenditure.
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Market Structure and Competitive Landscape
Some of the prominent players that contribute significantly to the growth of the global NK cell therapeutics market include Nkarta, Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, Affimed GmbH, Zelluna Immunotherapy, Nektar Therapeutics, XNK Therapeutics AB, ONK Therapeutics, Catarman Bio, MiNK Therapeutics, Celularity Inc., Artiva Biotherapeutics and others. These players adopt various strategies to reinforce their market share and gain a competitive edge over other competitors in the market. Partnerships and collaborations, research & development, and product launches are some of the strategies followed by industry players. Some of the key developments in the global NK cell therapeutics market include,
- In August 2022, Zelluna Immunotherapy announced an investment from Takeda Ventures, Inc. (TVI), the strategic investing arm of Takeda. TVI investment joins Zelluna’s latest financing round. The funds will enable the advancement of a lead TCR-NK product through manufacturing to Clinical Trial Application (CTA) / Investigational New Drug Application (IND) readiness and, continue the advancement of Zelluna’s platform with additional programs reaching the preclinical stage.
- In January 2022, Takeda announced to acquire Adaptate Biotherapeutics to Develop Novel Gamma Delta (γδ) T Cell Engager Therapies Targeting Solid Tumors. Through the acquisition, Takeda would obtain Adaptate’s antibody-based γδ T cell engager platform, including pre-clinical candidate and discovery pipeline programs. Adaptate’s γδ T cell engagers are designed to specifically modulate γδ T cell-mediated immune responses at tumor sites while sparing damage to healthy cells.
- In August 2021, Zelluna Immunotherapy announced an exclusive license agreement with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health, related to KK-LC-1 targeting allogeneic “off-the-shelf” TCR-NK cell therapies for the treatment of various solid cancers.
- In December 2021, Nektar Therapeutics announced phase 1b data for novel T regulatory cell stimulator NKTR-358 (LY3471851) in patients with atopic dermatitis. NKTR-358 is designed to treat autoimmune and inflammatory conditions by correcting the immune system imbalance that results from increased levels of inflammatory T cells and reduced numbers and impaired function of immune regulating Treg cells.
Key Market Segmentation
RationalStat has segmented the global NK cell therapeutics market on the basis of application, end user, and region.
- By Application
- Gastrointestinal Diseases
- Immunoproliferative Disorders
- By End User
- Research Centers and Institutes
- By Region
- North America
- Latin America
- Rest of Latin America
- Western Europe
- Rest of Western Europe
- Eastern Europe
- Rest of Eastern Europe
- Asia Pacific
- South Korea
- ASEAN (Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc.)
- Rest of Asia Pacific
- Middle East & Africa
- South Africa
- Rest of the Middle East & Africa
- North America
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Global NK Cell Therapeutics is expected to grow at a robust CAGR of 51.8% during the forecast period 2022-2028.
The global market for Global NK Cell Therapeutics was around US$ 100 Million in 2021.
Increasing number of clinical trials for oncology is one of the major trends in the global market.
North America is the leading region in the global market.
Major companies operating in the market include Nkarta, Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, Affimed GmbH, Zelluna Immunotherapy, Nektar Therapeutics, and others.