It is a well-known fact that where there is stem cell transplantation, there is Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD). The concept arose 2 decades ago and is not rare- it is a common complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) that occurs when the donated (graft) cells are rejected, and attack the host’s cells as foreign. Chronic GVHD is a major area of concern as it can last for years or a lifetime, leading to debilitated and life-threatening condition.

Approximately 40 percent of patients develop chronic GVHD after 100 days of transplant. The number of cases of GVHD depends on the number of allogeneic cell transplants (HCTs) and the transplantation occurs more than 20,000 times annually. So, the utmost concern is how GVHD should be treated.

The most effective approach includes Monoclonal antibodies. The use of Monoclonal antibodies in Graft Versus Host Disease has been increasing from last 20 years. Several drugs such as Alemtuzumab, Infliximab and Rituximab are already approved for the treatment of GVHD. Pipeline of GVHD contains Neihulizumab, Begelomab, Milatuzumab and MGD010 that targets activated T Cells.

Cell therapy is also making its way for the treatment as Enlivex Therapeutics and Kiadis Pharma are actively involved in developing their own technologies. Besides that, more than 52 companies are in the development race for GVHD treatment. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is currently leading the race with 3 products in pipeline. Incyte Corporation and ImmuNext are the next leaders in the upcoming GVHD market with two products respectively. Endonovo Therapeutics is developing a next-generation; off-the-shelf treatment for Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD) using Cytotronics expanded and ex vivo enhanced stem cells from the human umbilical cord. Dr. Falk Pharma GmbH, Mallinckrodt and Adienne Pharma & Biotech are expected to launch their products in coming years as the products are in Phase III stage of development.

GVHD is treated by suppressing the immune system, which means the treatment also increases the risk of infection. Each year, thousands of patients with hematologic malignancies undergo allogeneic (donor) stem cell transplantation (SCT). Thus, treatment of GVHD by enhancing immune system is very important. Pharmaceutical companies, clinicians and researchers are continually working to reduce the rate of GVHD occurrence and improve patient outcomes.

Insight by Shakshi Sikrewal
Associate Analyst
DelveInsight Business Research, LLP