Natural Killer Cells Market Outlook, Trends And Future Opportunities (2024-2031)

Natural Killer Cells Market Expected to Achieve US$ 6.0 Billion by 2031 | CAGR 34.5%

  • Date: 25 Mar, 2024
  • Author(s): Sagar Karlekar

Global Natural Killer Cells Market is expected to reach US$ 6.0 Bn in 2031 with a growth rate of 34.5%. Natural killer (NK) cells are emerging as an important component of cancer immunotherapy approaches. NK cells are innate immune cells that can directly recognize and kill tumor cells and virally infected cells. Owing to their inherent anti-tumor properties, NK cell-based immunotherapies are being extensively explored for difficult-to-treat cancers.

The rising global burden of cancer is a major factor driving growth in the natural killer cells market. As per WHO, new cancer cases are projected to surge by 70% over the next two decades, rising from 19.3 million in 2020 to 32.6 million cases by 2040. Such growth in patient population is creating an urgent need for more effective immunotherapy options. Advances in genetic engineering have enhanced the native antitumor capacities of NK cells and expanded their therapeutic applicability. This is encouraging significant R&D activity and investments by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop novel NK cell therapies targeting both blood cancers and solid tumors.

The pipeline of NK cell therapies spans diverse approaches including CAR-NK cells, off-the-shelf allogeneic NK cells, NK cell engagers, and combination treatments. Strategic partnerships and collaborations focused on advancing NK cell platforms and manufacturing technologies are also on the rise. Such factors are expected to propel steady growth of the natural killer cells market.


  • Rising prevalence of cancer globally, with new cases projected to increase substantially over the coming decades. This is expanding the patient pool relevant for NK cell therapies.
  • Advances in genetic engineering and cell processing that have enhanced NK cells’ native antitumor capacities and enabled development of CAR-NK cells.


  • Increasing shift towards off-the-shelf, allogeneic NK cell product formats that provide logistical advantages over patient-derived, autologous cell therapies.
  • Strategic partnerships between companies and academia are rising as an important trend to advance development of NK cell immunotherapies by leveraging complementary strengths.


  • Targeting solid tumors expands the applicability of NK cells beyond hematologic malignancies.

Key Report Insights:

  • North America accounted for the largest share of 55.6% in the natural killer cells market in 2023, owing to high cancer prevalence, presence of leading companies such as Fate Therapeutics, robust R&D activity and investments into cell therapy. Advances in CAR NK cell technology by companies are boosting regional growth.
  • Europe held the second largest share of 28.9% in 2023, driven by rising industry focus on developing allogeneic NK cell immunotherapies and strategic initiatives in countries like UK and Germany to support cell therapy research. Companies with strong presence include Affimed, Innate Pharma, Glycostem Therapeutics.
  • Prominent companies operating in the natural killer cells market include Fate Therapeutics, Affimed N.V., Glycostem Therapeutics, Kiadis Pharma, Innate Pharma, Nkarta Therapeutics, NantKwest, Phio Pharmaceuticals, Ziopharm Oncology, Sorrento Therapeutics, Celularity, Cytovia Therapeutics, and others. Strategic partnerships and research collaborations focused on advancing pipelines are contributing to growth.

Natural Killer Cells Market Segmentation:

By Source

  • NK-92 Cell Line
  • Peripheral Blood NK Cells
  • Umbilical Cord Blood NK Cells
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived NK Cells
  • Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived NK Cells

By Type

  • Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells
  • Tumor-Infiltrating NK Cells
  • Allogeneic NK Cells
  • Autologous NK Cells

By Application

  • Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunoproliferative Disorders
  • Others

By End User

  • Hospitals
  • Research Institutes
  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Biotech Companies
  • Others


“The natural killer (NK) cells market refers to the industry and pipeline of immunotherapies that leverage the anti-tumor and antiviral properties of NK cells to treat a range of cancers, infectious diseases, and other conditions. It encompasses research, development, and commercialization of various therapeutic modalities based on NK cells such as CAR-NK cells, NK cell-based bispecific antibodies, and off-the-shelf allogeneic NK cell therapies.

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