Since 2004, six new prostate cancer treatments have been approved for advanced prostate cancer: docetaxel (Taxotere), sipuleucel-T (Provenge), cabazitaxel (Jevtana), abiraterone (Zytiga), enzalutamide (Xtandi), radium-223 (Xofigo).
Sometimes timing can be amusing when writing up data and conferences. Yesterday, while writing about the immuno-oncology developments in renal cell cancer (RCC), I was putting a table of the trials together and absent mindedly noticed that Merck didn’t have much going in this indication compared to BMS and Roche/Genentech.
We’ve been hearing and writing about a substantial amount of news and information on various immuno-oncology developments over the last year, especially in metastatic melanoma and lung cancer, but despite renal cell cancer (RCC) being a proven immune-sensitive disease with known PD-L1 expression, it seems to be the poor cousin to the other two tumour types given the lag in data and relative media attention.
This week we turn our focus to the American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary (ASCO GU) symposium being held in San Francisco.
In the second part of our mini-series on immuno-oncology, I thought it would be a nice idea to share a recent interview conducted with one of Roche/Genentech’s leading researchers in this field. I was particularly interested in their approach because while BMS and Merck have clearly focused on anti-PD-1, Roche and Genentech have effectively zigged with their development of an anti-PD-L1 inhibitor. Does this matter?
Cancer immunotherapy was described in the December 20, 2013 issue of Science magazine as their Breakthrough of the Year, but really, we are just scratching the surface of what can be achieved.
Biotech IPOs were a pretty hot topic in 2013, with some of the young stars in oncology seeing very good uptake and prices. Two companies that come to mind are Foundation Medicine and Agios Pharmaceuticals. Last week, we covered Foundation Medicine (FMI) and their progress with genomic testing, which is used by a number of Pharma companies including Novartis, in their clinical trial program. Interestingly, another company using their platform is Agios (AGIO), a start up biotechnology company focusing on metabolism and its errant mechanisms in cancer related areas. Both Foundation Medicine and Agios are based in Cambridge, MA.
One of the fun aspects of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) conference last month was interviewing several thought leaders and CEOs about the latest developments that were emerging rapidly almost every single day. Now, some medical meetings can be rather dreary if there’s no new or exciting data to pique the interest of the foot weary attendees, who tend to run on coffee and adrenalin for four days, but this ASH was rather different.
Foundation Medicine ($FMI) will be presenting on Jan 15th at the J.P. Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference, which we will be following remotely on the blog.
This week the Cancer Conference Coverage moves to the joint IASLC-AACR symposium on the Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer in San Diego. Having attended previous events (this is the third one they’ve hosted) and rather enjoyed them, this year I’m following it remotely.