America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are using biological processes to develop 907 medicines and vaccines targeting more than 100 diseases, according to a new report from PhRMA. The medicines and vaccines – all in human clinical trials or under review the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – include 338 monoclonal antibodies, 250 vaccines, 93 recombinant proteins, 60 cell therapies, 46 gene therapies and 30 antisense medicines.
The medicines discussed in this report often represent cutting-edge research in which the latest scientific discoveries are translated into novel therapies that provide new treatment options for patients. Increased understanding of the molecular and genetic bases of disease has opened up the development of a range of targeted treatments. For instance, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are proteins that help the immune system identify and bind to foreign substances. Thirty years after initial development, these therapies help treat some of the most costly and challenging diseases.
Antisense drugs interfere with the communication process that tells a cell to produce an unwanted protein. Vaccines, particularly, therapeutic cancer vaccines, are another example of how the immune system is being harnessed to fight disease.
The biologic medicines now in development make use of a range of new technologies to harness scientific progress. For example, among the medicines in the pipeline are:
- A genetically-modified virus-based vaccine to treat melanoma.
- A monoclonal antibody for the treatment of asthma.
- An antisense medicine for the treatment of leukemia.
- A recombinant fusion protein to treat type 2 diabetes.
The 907 biologic medicines and vaccines in development promise to push the frontiers of science and bring new treatments to patients for our most challenging diseases.