2024 predictions: Experts comment on monoclonal antibodies 

2024 predictions, road forward

DDW’s Megan Thomas speaks to experts from the drug discovery industry about their predictions on what 2024 holds for our sector. This is part of a series of predictions based on different themes. Here, experts weigh in on the future of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). 

Amanda Halford, President Bioprocess, Cytiva 

“In 2024, the emphasis will remain on novel mAbs, specifically antibody drug conjugates. Expect to see substantial investments, including buyouts and CDMOs adapting their offerings. Two trends are emerging: firstly, a rise in the use of novel mAbs as companies step beyond pre-approved monoclonal antibodies for conjugation. Secondary, there is a growing interest in replacing the cytotoxic head with non-toxic alternatives, like protein degraders. As demonstrated by the increase in preclinical and clinical stage unconventional conjugated ADCs, expect to see diversification and more complex offerings.” 

Lia Sylvestri, Director Customer Experience & Engagement, TrakCel 

“In 2024, significant advancements in monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) research are anticipated with leading companies, such as Roche, Regeneron, and Eli Lilly, expected to drive breakthroughs in precision medicine, tailoring mAbs for diverse diseases. Innovations include next-generation antibodies with improved efficacy and reduced side effects. Research will likely focus on expanding applications in infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. Advancements in antibody-drug conjugates are also expected, enhancing targeted delivery for cancer treatments.” 

Carole Nicco, CSO, BioSenic 

“mAb immunotherapy is the most widely used approach and has achieved tremendous success. Adoptive T-cell therapy (ACT), particularly T-cell-based transplantation, is attracting increasing attention and is advancing rapidly since the FDA approval of CAR-T therapy for the treatment of relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and B-cell malignancies. Other ACTs such as TIL, TCR, NK cell, Treg, and MDSC therapies are now emerging. High response rates have been reported for both mAb and CAR T-cell cancer therapy; however, treatment refractoriness and disease relapse still occur and represent an ongoing clinical challenge. Although several issues regarding ACTs, such as safety, efficacy and persistence, need to be addressed, ACTs are being continuously produced and an increasing number of commercial products are being approved, mainly due to their advantages such as simple composition and controllable scalability. In the future, the combination of CAR T-cell therapy with local small molecules, such as BioSenic’s arsenic trioxide, may be a combinatorial strategy to overcome the limitations of each monotherapy.” 

Richard Hammond, CTO, Sphere Fluidics  

“The development of mAb-based therapies has rapidly taken off within the last few decades due to advances in molecular biology and high-throughput screening technologies enabling researchers to better manipulate biological molecules or identify the best candidates to progress to the next stage of development.  

“Many of the most popular drugs in 2023 are mAb-based therapies, which we predict will continue in 2024. We also predict that the number of new candidate drugs being identified or entering clinical trials that are mAbs will also increase. This is due in part to advances in antibody discovery platforms, such as ours that use droplet-based microfluidics technology to streamline and accelerate the initial screening process. Expanding synthetic biology capabilities are also enabling the development of novel mAb-based drug candidates, such as bispecific mAbs and conjugated mAbs. Increasing recognition of the potential and applicability of mAb-based therapies is being reflected through the increased funding and number of research projects, which we predict will continue to rise well beyond 2024 in line with global demands. For example, the rising incidence of cancer – a disease where treatment using mAb-based therapies is increasingly appropriate – will continue to drive market growth, as well as the need to develop novel therapies for diseases where therapeutic options are limited or are difficult to target.” 

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