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Immunotherapy: environmental scan


Immunotherapy is defined broadly as a set of clinical interventions aimed at counteracting disease by modulating a patient’s immune system, using both conventional small molecule approaches and tools derived from the immune system itself. This environmental scan aimed to provide a market and technology background for immunotherapy and place the emerging immunotherapy market in the wider context of the traditional vaccine, biologicals and pharmaceuticals markets. The report is focused more heavily on market opportunity identification as opposed to a review of specific platform technologies.


The methodology consisted of: a broad based market survey by disease indication; relating disease sector to technology platforms at a high level; selective case studies and a high-level review of Scottish strengths; and preliminary opportunity mapping for full foresighting. For each therapeutic area (TA), characteristics were identified by ‘headline’ numbers taken from published reports in the US market and US patient numbers (annual incidence or prevalence).


The report finds that a renaissance in conventional vaccines will act as a technological and business springboard for new interventions, collectively enabling a new wave of immunotherapy products. There are multiple potential market opportunities in the rapidly developing immunotherapy market space: these include interventions directed at modulating immune response to enhance disease elimination or to suppress autoimmune responses. The report outlines a discrete short-list of potential market opportunities for novel immunotherapeutic approaches to: human-acquired infections in particular of implants; fungal infections; elimination of minimal residual disease in major cancers; hypertension; food allergies and bowel autoimmune disease; rheumatoid arthritis; and allergic rhinitis (hayfever). The research base in Scotland is highly competitive in the key cognate areas of immunology and infection, and also in several of the key emerging application areas of novel immunology, most notably cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The report finds that Scotland has: well-developed translational research and clinical trials capability; a small but significant group of companies with capability in immunotherapy technologies; and a particularly strong company base in biological manufacturing processes which are relevant to immunotherapy.


The report recommends that its results should be disseminated with Scottish commercial academic and government networks. Candidate opportunities identified in this report or new opportunities identified by reaction to this document should be further investigated. There should also be a workshop of key immunology and immunotherapy research and commercial leaders in Scotland. A short-list of one or two leading opportunities that might warrant more detailed market and technical foresighting should be compiled and any opportunity from this foresighting process should be matched to the appropriate Scottish Enterprise or ITI programmes of support.

Author ITI Life Sciences
Published Year 2010
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Life Sciences