Today we continue the second of a two part interview with a global thought leader who is also a scientist-clinician and well versed in cancer research as well as clinical trials.
Old Town Hall, Munchen
We explore how we can do clinical trials better in order to learn via a more rigorous process what works, what doesn’t, and why. After all, we we don’t know why certain approaches didn’t work or what the mechanisms of resistance are, how can we possibly improve?
Randomness is not necessarily a good thing in clinical research, especially if you don’t know what target you’re actually trying to hit!
If you missed the first part of this latest KOL interview and want to catch up then you can find it here (Link).
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Two of the most intriguing developments in cancer research over the last 5 years have been checkpoint blockade and CAR T cell therapies. There’s no doubt that they work – in some patients – or that toxicities can be challenging to manage at times, but what has been very interesting to me has been physician reactions to the rise of immunotherapies.
There has been much noise about biomarkers, including whether they work or not in this niche, as well as how do we go about selecting patients for therapies and combinations?
Ultimately, immunotherapies will be no different from targeted therapies in that we need to better understand the underlying biology in order to move forward beyond the low hanging fruit and figure out how we can best select appropriate therapy for each individual based on their particular characteristics.
The worry that many researchers have is that we could end up making the same mistakes with immunotherapies as targeted therapies, i.e. treat them in a broad fashion akin to throwing mud at the wall. Indeed, some companies are already doing this, much to the consternation of the research community.
So how do we go about doing things better and thinking more strategically about what needs to be done?
Up next is the first in a two-part interview series with a global thought leader who is a scientist-clinician with expertise in both immunology and oncogenic pathways. What does he have to say about where we are now and importantly, what does the future hold?
This is the penultimate article in our coverage from the Triple meeting in Munich, held in November 2016.
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San Francisco: In the final post of the week, it’s time to focus on some of the interesting concepts and early ideas being explored in GI tumours such as pancreatic and colorectal carcinomas.
Gems from the Poster Hall or what Dog Drug Heaven really looks like?
Despite the image implied by the used poster bins (right), there were actually several encouraging signs from emerging IO approaches as well as some surprising results that lead to some compounds – or at least some indications – going off to dog drug heaven.
There were also some salutory lessons to be learned in terms of understanding biomarkers and useful these can be.
After years of incremental improvements with targeted therapies, it’s time to look at whether some immunotherapy combinations can make an impact in what is known as cold tumours.
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San Francisco: ASCO Gastrointestinal symposium 2017 – Update on metastatic colorectal cancer
It might surprise quite a few people that colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer globally, especially in the western hemisphere where hereditary, dietary and lifestyle factors can be important.
The bedrock of therapeutic approaches in this disease have largely centred around chemotherapy (FOLFOX or FOLFIRI) along with targeted therapies against EGFR (cetuximab, panitumumab) or VEGF (bevacizumab, ziv-aflibercept, regorafenib etc).
In our second report from #GI17, we take a look at some of the emerging monotherapy and combination approaches that are showing early signs of moving the needle in advanced CRC, an area that has been relatively dormant of late. This is partly because it’s a cold tumour and with the focus on cancer immunotherapies, it’s not the first tumour type that companies will necessarily rush to evaluate.
Things are changing though, even in colorectal cancer so it’s time to look at some key studies that may teach us more about this disease.
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San Francisco: A look at what’s new in gastric cancer (GC) from the 2017 ASCO GI meeting.
Day 1 of #GI17 is filling up…
There were several phase 3 trials presented in GC and gastro-esophageal junction (GEJ) carcinoma in both targeted therapies and immunotherapies this past weekend.
- When we look carefully at the latest data, what do we find?
- Where are the opportunities and challenges in this niche?
Another critical question that many observers will be interested in is…
Will BMS’s checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab (Opdivo), overcome recent setbacks in lung cancer and make a mark in stomach cancer to challenge approved targeted therapies such as ramucirumab (Cyramza)?
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The most common cause of breast cancer death is when metastatic ER+ tumors develop resistance to treatment. There remains an huge unmet medical need for new effective treatment options.
One translational clinical researcher leading the way in understanding the molecular and genomic landscape in ER+ metastatic breast cancer is Nikhil Wagle, MD (@Nikhilwagle), Deputy Director, Center for Cancer Precision Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI).
He’s shown the power of partnering with patients via social media to speed research, with over 3,000 men and women joining the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project that launched in October 2015.
At the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Dr Wagle kindly spoke to BSB about the genomics research that he and colleagues are undertaking, and what this may mean for how metastatic breast cancer is treated:
- What if you could help accelerate clinical trial enrollment via a network of educated and empowered patients?
- What if you could access real world data to help learn about exceptional responders?
For those of you in Pharmaland, here’s one approach that should captivate the imagination of what’s possible.
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Challenges and Opportunities in the evolving 1L NSCLC Landscape
Rolling English Landscape in Devon
Following a series of events – from BMS’s failure with nivolumab monotherapy… to Merck’s sudden announcement to file their combination of pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy… to AstraZeneca’s delay of the MYSTIC trial exploring durvalumab plus tremelimumab this week, there’s never a dull moment in lung cancer!
So can we expect some more surprises in store in 1L NSCLC?
I say yes we can!
The big questions are what are they and what impact will they have?
2017 is ironically, the year of the Rooster – so who’s going to crow loudly at dawn and who is going to get strangled in the process?
In the world of cancer research it is unlikely that everything wins or is successful, so figuring out the early signs and hints is an important part of the process.
One thing I learned early in this business is that it pays for companies to be humble, flexible and open minded rather than arrogant and dogmatic in their thinking… otherwise you can easily be blindsided.
There were a few examples of that in oncology R&D last year, a repeat could very well follow in 2017 for the unwary.
Here we look at 1L NSCLC in the context of multiple phase 3 trials that are slated to read out… from AstraZeneca, BMS, Merck and Genentech.
If you want to know what the potential impact of these events are on the landscape, including what we can expect from MYSTIC, CheckMate-227 and several others, then this is the post for you because some surprises are likely in store.
We cut through the chase to explain the what and the why in clear simple language.
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Neon Therapeutics is based in Cambridge, MA
One of the much anticipated cancer immunotherapy presentations at the 2017 JP Morgan Healthcare conference was by Neon Therapeutics CEO Hugh O’Dowd.
As readers know we’re riding the Immuno-Oncology wave on Biotech Strategy Blog, and one of the exciting new topics to emerge is whether we can target neoantigens to create personalized immunotherapy.
Our mini-series last year on neonatigens received a lot of attention. It included a primer and three interviews. We were very much of the opinion that Neon Therapeutics is a company to watch out for.
In case you missed them, here are the links:
I highly recommending reading these articles as background on the science and new product development as a prelude to the latest commercialisation update we will cover in today’s post.
What did we learn from the 2017 JP Morgan presentation of the Neon Therapeutics corporate strategy?
If you didn’t make it to the presentation at JPM17 in San Francisco (it wasn’t webcast), you may be interested in this post. This is the latest update in our on-going series on neoantigens and why they matter in cancer immunotherapy.
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It’s Wednesday at the 2017 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference and the last full day of the meeting.
It’s also our last day for a rolling blog; we hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage and commentary this year.
If you want to catch up on what we’ve written about, do check out our posts form Day 1 (Link) and Day 2 of JPM17 (Link).
Yesterday also included some thoughts on the latest Merck pembrolizumab filing announcement in 1L NSCLC, which has certainly had a dramatic impact on the market, even for big pharma (MRK +$4.9B, BMY -$3.3B).
Companies we’ve covered so far include: Celgene, Incyte, Seattle Genetics, Clovis, Puma, BMS, Five Prime, Nektar, Juno and others.
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It’s Tuesday at the 2017 JP Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco.
Each day of #JPM17 we’re doing a rolling blog post which we’re updating throughout the day with commentary and insights on the company presentations we’re covering.
While we’re not giving a blow-by-blow account, many companies have the slides readily available, we will be commenting on noteworthy news, and what we learn about pharma/biotech corporate strategy going into 2017.
For those of you who like to catch up with the final summary of each day’s highlights, you can read our post around Day 1 here (Link).
Yesterday we also published a thought leader interview we did with Dr Stephan Grupp, Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program at CHOP about some of the latest CAR T cell data and emerging issues we heard at #ASH16 last month (Link). Do check it out!
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