- Drug-industry giants are betting billions on one of the hottest targets in cancer research.
- Researchers hope drugs targeting a protein called TIGIT can unlock a new era of immunotherapy.
- Insider identified 14 TIGIT leaders, ranging from pharmaceutical giants to tiny biotechs.
Big Pharma is betting billions on a new class of cancer treatments.
The hope is this new target, called TIGIT, can expand the benefits of immunotherapy to more patients.While the first clinical data on TIGIT released in 2020 boosted interest in the protein, a new trial failure reported on March 29 by the field’s leader, Roche, raises the stakes on future studies to succeed. That latest study showed Roche’s TIGIT drug wasn’t effective in small-cell lung cancer, a hard-to-treat type of cancer. Despite the failure, analysts are still optimistic about TIGIT’s prospects in other tumor types, particularly non-small-cell lung cancer.
The first immunotherapies were approved a decade ago in 2011. These drugs, which harness the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, have delivered transformative benefits to some patients.
Researchers hope TIGIT-targeted drugs can improve existing treatments when used with other immunotherapies. The hope is these combinations will help more patients and provide longer-lasting benefits in fighting off cancer, ultimately expanding the utility of cancer immunotherapy.