We spend a lot of time in the poster halls at scientific and medical meetings such as European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Madrid because that’s where the action is in terms of finding nuggets of promising preclinical and early clinical data. You can also spot new trends emerging earlier this way.
At large meetings run by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and American Association for Research (AACR) there are literally thousands of posters, all of which have passed the grade to merit presentation.
Gaining insights from posters, and in particular, picking those that really matter is often an art rather than a science – a lot of intuition is involved.
This post discusses a few of the posters presented in the developmental therapeutic session at ESMO this year. It focuses on non-immunotherapy topics, i.e. traditional TKIs and monoclonal antibodies to specific mutations or other targets.
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This last week saw the ASCO Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco, although very little caught my attention from a drug development point of view. Much of the attention seemed to be focused on surgery, genetic counselling and screening.
With the 2014 European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) conference in Madrid coming up fast in only 2 weeks time, it seems a good point to take a look at what’s on the slate there, since there are some important clinical trials being presented there with new data that we can expect to hear a lot more about.
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Companies mentioned: Roche/Genentech, GSK, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Medivation, Astellas
Drugs mentioned: Pertuzumab, trastuzumab, lapatinib, PI3K inhibitors, olaparib, enzalutamide
There are a couple of important breast cancer trials with data being presented for the first time at Madrid.
Readers of the blog and those who’ve seen us at conferences will know that we spend a lot of time in the poster halls at meetings such as AACR, ASCO, ASH, ESMO/ECCO.
Anybody can write about data in a press briefing, or a plenary session, but if you want to have insights into the future, and identify early opportunities, you have to look at posters.
This year at ASCO 2014, others seemed to have the same strategy as the poster halls were frequently overcrowded and for a popular poster it was like a rugby scrum just to reach the poster and scan a QR code. As for ASCO’s flawed thinking in putting two posters on one board….. the least said about that the better.
What’s interesting in the poster sessions is that there is a wisdom of crowds feel to some of the posters – if there’s a crowd of people, more will gather. It’s like a traffic accident, you can’t possibly read the poster from afar, but it must be important if everyone’s gathered round…
Feels like walking to Ohio to reach South 405
Anyone doing the poster circuit at ASCO, puts in the miles between the general sessions on the side of the main exhibit hall, goes over the #BlisterWalk bridge to reach E354b in the East building and then marches up and down the “road to Ohio” to reach South 405 where the Developmental Therapeutics sessions are presented. Rinse and repeat multiple times a day, you’ll soon be scowling at your ‘comfy’ shoes 😉
That said, it was worth the effort and this post offers a personal selection of some of the many posters that caught our attention.
Companies whose products are mentioned include: $EXEL, $RHHBY, $XLRN, $MRK
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One of the interesting new developments at AACR was the return of FGFR inhibitors with more enthusiasm and encouraging data compared to the past. Recall that previous small molecule inhibitors such as brivanib (BMS) and dovitinib (Novartis) didn’t fare particularly well, despite a multitude of clinical trials in different tumour types where FGFR was thought to matter.
This begs several key questions:
- Does the target matter to the tumour?
- Do we have enough therapeutic index to shut down the pathway?
- Is it better to be a specific or a pan-FGFR inhibitor?
- Does having multi-kinase effects offer off-target adverse events to the detriment of efficacy?
- Do we need an antibody or an ADC rather than a small molecule to improve potency?
And many other questions that cannot be addressed or answered on the basis of two chemical entities.
Interestingly, and perhaps even surprisingly, new data emerged in San Diego that might help us answer some of these questions.
In this review, a number of anti-FGFR compounds are mentioned including brivanib (BMS), dovitinib (Novartis), lenvatinib (Eisai), ponatinib (Ariad), BGJ398 (Novartis) and BAY 1179470 (Bayer).
Here, we take a particular focus on promising new FGFR compounds with new data at AACR from Novartis (BGJ398) and Bayer (BAY 1179470, BAY 1163877, FGFR2-ADC).
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