Long and durable tumour responses and lesser side-effects are expected to make immuno-oncology drugs a preferred choice of treatment, helping the sector to grow to $34bn by 2024, says a report by GlobalData.

The report, titled ‘Cancer Immunotherapies – Strategic Analysis’, mentions that immuno-oncology drugs will be increasingly popular as they do not pose adverse effects that are normally associated with conventional treatments such as chemotherapy.

Being proven to treat wide variety of indications, these drugs are likely to see accelerated approval, encouraging leading pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, AstraZeneca and Roche introduce more products in the segment by 2024, according to GlobalData’s senior analyst Dan Roberts.

These advantages are expected to encourage more patients shift to immuno-oncology drugs.

"The report forecasts that the market for immuno-oncology treatments will grow by approximately 142% from $14bn in 2019 to $34bn by 2024."

The report forecasts that the market for immuno-oncology treatments will grow by approximately 142% from $14bn in 2019 to $34bn by 2024. It further forecasts that sales of programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) inhibitors Opdivo and Keytruda, two leading drugs in this segment, will reach $10bn and $7bn respectively.

Opdivo is developed by Ono and Bristol-Myers Squibb, whereas Keytruda is developed by Schering Plough and Merck and Co.

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Although Keytruda will benefit from being approved for more tumour types than Opdivo, the latter will gain from the size of population affected by the disease. One such example is non-small cell lung cancer, says Dan Roberts.

Image: Opdiva was discovered and developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.