PD-1 and PDL-1 Inhibitors Market - Global Industry Insights, Trends, Outlook, and Opportunity Analysis, 2016–2024

Targeted cancer therapy is the primary objective of extensive research related to cancer drugs. Our immune cells are programmed to attack the foreign cell on activation. PD-1 and PDL-1 are among those activation points present on the immune cells. Sometimes cancer cells also use this PD-1 and PDL-1 trigger points to avoid being attacked by the immune cells. Therefore, cancer drugs targeting these cells hold tremendous potential in the cancer treatment market. Approved PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitor drugs have become blockbuster products. The global PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors market is segmented based on the drug type and application as follows:

  • Drug Type
    • PD-1 inhibitors
      • Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
      • Nivolumab (Opdivo)
    • PDL-1 inhibitors
      • Atezolizumab (Tecentriq)
      • Avelumab (Bavencio)
  • Applications
    • Non-small cell lung cancer
    • Kidney cancer
    • Melanoma of the skin
    • Bladder cancer
    • Merkel cell skin cancer
    • Others

PD-1 inhibitors are effective in treating non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), kidney cancer, melanoma of the skin, head and neck cancers, bladder cancer, and Hodgkin lymphoma. Opdivo is leading the race with US$ 3.8 Bn in sales in 2016, compared to US$ 1.4 Bn of Keytruda in 2016. Both these drugs have garnered significant development in past two years with respect to extended therapeutic application and approvals in European countries and Japan.

PDL-1 inhibitors are proven to be effective in NSCLC, bladder cancer, and Merkel cell skin cancer. Avelumab received FDA approval in March 2017 for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a rare skin cancer with no approved therapies. The drug therefore, received approval under the accelerated approval process, requiring the developers, Pfizer, Inc. and Merck KGaA to conduct larger clinical trials to establish complete safety and efficacy of the drug. The drug is also being tested for bladder cancer, NSCLC, gastric cancer, ovarian cancer, and renal cancer, under the JAVELIN clinical trial program. Extended therapeutic applications widens the potential opportunity for the drugs in the global PD-1 inhibitors and PDL-1 inhibitors market.

Active research activities to spur the global PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors market growth

PD-1 and PDL-1 biomarkers are also called immune checkpoints. Trails from Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb have shown PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors to be effective in patients expressing higher level of PD-1 and PDL-1 biomarkers, restricting the potential market to only these patients. Therefore, all of the big pharma companies in the global market of PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors are combining the PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors with other targeted cancer drugs to cater to a larger set of population. The global PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors market is poised to grow significantly with more product developments in the segment. There are 65 clinical studies in phase 2 and phase 3 phase globally. Commercialization of a novel drug in this segment would be a great booster for the growth for the PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors market.

Regional PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors market outlook

A major share of the revenue of the global PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors market is currently concentrated in North America, Europe, and Japan as these are the three major revenue generating nations with high insurance coverage, high healthcare investment, and are highly developed pharmaceutical markets. The market players would be eyeing other regions for tapping the cancer treatment market opportunities in those regions. Uncertain regulations challenging the sales of patented pharmaceutical products has been a major deterring factor for global pharmaceutical companies to enter into emerging economies. However, novel rugs for cancer type with no treatment available currently would find positive outlook in these regions, though the high pricing would inhibit their sales in emerging economies.

Key players operating in the global PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors market include Pfizer, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck KGaA, AstraZeneca plc, F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Merck & Co. Inc., Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Novartis AG, and Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Research Methodology

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  • Primary Research (Trade Surveys and Experts Interviews)
  • Desk Research
  • Proprietor Data Analytics Model

In addition to this, Coherent Market Insights has access to a wide range of the regional and global reputed paid data bases, which helps the company to figure out the regional and global market trends and dynamics. The company analyses the industry from the 360 Degree Perspective i.e. from the Supply Side and Demand Side which enables us to provide granular details of the entire ecosystem for each study. Finally, a Top-Down approach and Bottom-Up approach is followed to arrive at ultimate research findings.


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Coherent Market Insights desk research is based on a principle set of research techniques:

  • National level desk research: It Includes research analysis of regional players, regional regulatory bodies, regional trade associations, and regional organization.
  • Multinational level desk research: The research team keeps a track of multinational players, global regulatory bodies, global trade associations, and global organization.

Coherent Market Insights has a large amount of in-house repository of industry database. This is leveraged as a burner for initiating a new research study. Key secondary sources include:

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  • Company Annual reports, SEC filings, Corporate Presentations, press release, news, and specification sheet of manufacturers, system integrators, brick and mortar - distributors and retailers, and third party online commerce players.
  • Scientific journals, and other technical magazines and whitepapers.
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Preliminary Data Mining

The raw data is obtained through the secondary findings, in house repositories, and trade surveys. It is then filtered to ensure that the relevant information including industry dynamics, trends, and outlook is retained for further research process.

Data Standardization:

Holistic approach is used to ensure that the granular and uncommon parameters are taken into consideration to ensure accurate results. The information from the paid databases are further combined to the raw data in order to standardize it.

Coherent Statistical model

We arrive at our final research findings through simulation models. Coherent Data Analytics Model is a statistical tool that helps company to forecast market estimates. Few of the parameters considered as a part of the statistical model include:

  • Micro-economic indicators
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Data Processing

Once the findings are derived from the statistical model, large volume of data is process to confirm accurate research results. Data analytics and processing tools are adopted to process large chunk of collected informative data. In case, a client customizes the study during the process, the research finding till then are benchmarked, and the process for new research requirement is initiated again.

Data Validation

This is the most crucial stage of the research process. Primary Interviews are conducted to validate the data and analysis. This helps in achieving the following purposes:

  • It provides first-hand information on the market dynamics, outlook, and growth parameters.
  • Industry experts validates the estimates which helps the company to cement the on-going research study.
  • Primary research includes online surveys, face-to face interviews, and telephonic interviews.

The primary research is conducted with the ecosystem players including, but not limited to:

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  • Distributors
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