Release Date: 20-Feb-2023
Immunotherapy has been revolutionizing the landscape of cancer treatment. It has been over a decade since this therapeutic approach was first introduced and since then, the extraordinary extent of investments indicates the innovations done in the field. Given the crucial role of immune blockade in cancer immunotherapy, the pharmaceutical industry is continuously on the hunt for more novel inhibitory targets. This had led to the discovery of LAG-3, a novel immune checkpoint whose therapeutic potential is being actively investigated in clinical trials.
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The presence lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG-3) on cancer cells has been associated with activation and exhaustion of T cells against tumor cells but have failed making it an attractive target to explore the potential of immune system. With CTLA-4 and PD-1/PDL-1 immune checkpoint inhibitors showing great success and broader scope, the acceptance of LAG-3 immune checkpoint was fairly natural.
On March 2022, the UD FDA approved the first ever anti-LAG-3 therapy Opdualag. Developed by Bristol Myers Squibb, the drug is a fixed dose combination of Nivolumab (Opdivo) and Relatlimab indicated for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Marking the entry of a new class of immune checkpoint inhibitors, the drug’s approval was based on the data from its phase III study RELATIVITY-047 which compared Opdualag with Opdivo monotherapy in patients with previously untreated, unresectable stage III or IV melanoma. Opdualag provided a treatment option with greater efficacy than Opdivo monotherapy as well as superior tolerability than Opdivo-Yervoy combination.
The stark contrast between the toxicity profiles of the drug combinations of two immune checkpoint inhibitors suggested higher clinical significance. The approval of Opdualag has pushed forward several other drug candidates in pre-clinical studies to shift to clinical trials and encouraging positive results from current candidates in clinical settings. Several clinical studies have been testing out combinations of anti-LAG-3 antibody with other immune checkpoint inhibitors so as so generate a more robust clinical response.
Furthermore, Regeneron, Merck and Immutep have been working towards developing their novel anti-Lag-3 targeted therapies. In phase II clinical trials, a soluble anti-LAG-3 antibody Eftilagimod alpha is being tested with anti-PD1 agent Pembrolizumab in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This investigation has hypothesized that this combinational approach could garner a much robust anti-tumor response than pembrolizumab monotherapy.
Observing the impact of immune checkpoint inhibitors, the discovery of LAG-3 has been encouraging vigorous clinical attention, with studies being conducted to determine the therapeutic potential of LAG-3 blockade, the future of this immune checkpoint looks flourishing. At present, the pipeline for anti-LAG-3 antibodies are now crowded but consists of several promising candidates that have the ability to have a huge impact on the commercial market. The stout research results from clinical trials indicate a flouring market growth from anti-LAG-3 antibody market.
For instance, positive results from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals seen clinical trials for its investigational combination of Fianlimab, anti-LAG-3 drug and PD-1 inhibitor Libtayo in advanced non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma suggest another possible drug combination that can enter the market. With years of research and development, immune checkpoint inhibitors have achieved a milestone in immunotherapy treatment and have been able to outweigh traditional therapeutic regimes.
Moreover, the increasing burden of cancer cases and growing infrastructure of the healthcare sector has pushed pharmaceutical stakeholders to develop novel strategies. The introduction and quick adoption of LAG-3 immune checkpoint proposes further market penetration for this therapeutic modality and expanding the future possibilities it may offer. Considering the positive welcome of Opdualag in the market, it can be predicted that anti-Lag-3 antibodies have the potential to achieve the same growth seen for anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 agents.
Some of the key payers that are actively working towards developing LAG-3 targeted therapies include; Macrogenics, Zai Lab, Bristol Myers Squibb, Ono Pharmaceuticals and several others. This report aims to provide information about the numerous clinical trials under progress for several anti-LAG-3 antibodies, evaluating their therapeutic potential in cancer but not only limited to cancer immunotherapy. Additionally, the report also highlights various market opportunities that are available or might be available in the future of anti-LAG-3 antibody market. There are several factors that drive the markets growth or challenge its development; this report also provides insights on such factors.