Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts tagged ‘ASH 2013 New Orleans’

New Orleans – Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) is mainly focused on education and science, although there are also several hundred posters available for those in need of a data injection.

What I like about the ASH education and scientific program is the high quality of the presentations from thought leaders who not only share where things are at, but just as importantly, where they may be going.

Yesterday, I attended a scientific session on Targeting Apoptosis in Lymphoid Malignancies. Organized by the Scientific Committee on Lymphoid Neoplasia, it featured three world-class speakers:

  • Douglas Green, PhD (St Jude Children’s Research Hospital)
  • Andreas Strasser, PhD (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research)
  • Anthony Letai, MD, PhD (Dana Farber Cancer Institute).

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been following the development of ABT-199/GDC-0199 a novel Bcl-2 inhibitor in development by Abbvie & Genentech for a while now.

It’s a drug with a lot of promise, notwithstanding the tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) deaths seen in the phase 1 CLL dose escalation trial.

In the ASH 2013 scientific session, Dr Letai shared his insights on potential new drug development targets for a small molecule inhibitor of Bcl-2 such as ABT-199 that have come about as a result of BH3 profiling.

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New Orleans – Novartis announced this morning that their novel pan-HDAC inhibitor, panobinostat (LBH589) in combination with bortezomib (Velcade) and dexamethasone significantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) of patients with Multiple Myeloma in the phase III PANORAMA-1 trial.

Logo of American Society of HematologyThis year, the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in New Orleans is potentially the meeting of the year with much new data emerging, not only on a multitude of products, but also many biotechs – big and small – not just Pharma.

Last week a chance event unexpectedly found me on the road for two days instead of feverishly browsing the ASH abstracts in real time for the first time in years. I’ve been attending the meeting since the mid 1990’s in various guises, so was quite sad not to be ‘present’ for moment they went live.

Nonetheless, I must pay tribute to the Twitter Bio community who merrily shared and discussed their favourite abstracts on various topics, which made finding and sorting relevant ones much easier and quicker than it might have been. In particular, Patrick Crutcher (@chasingthealpha) of Chimera Research Group did a sterling job of highlighting many key sessions on Twitter, despite being on the west coast for a 9am open time. If you’re not following him on Twitter, check him out!

While reading through all the links and notes I collated, it made sense to write a series of preview posts on different topics. This year, I will be writing five preview posts, with a different topic highlighted in each one:

  • Myelofibrosis
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • Acute Leukemias
  • Lymphomas

For today’s review of Myelofibrosis, the following companies and compounds will be covered:

Companies: Incyte, Novartis, Gilead, Sanofi, BMS, Geron, CTIC, Lilly, Celgene

Compounds: ruxolitinib, INCB039110, momelotinib, fedratinib, BMS-91143, imetelstat, pacritinib, LY2784544, pomalidomide, sonidegib

Note that not all of these agents are JAK inhibitors – others have a different target and can potentially be used in combination with a JAK inhibitor, some are pan JAK inhibitors, some selective and others dual inhibitors. This previews are really mini reviews of the abstracts, meaning it may be easier to print them out and read or contemplate over a cup of coffee.

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Earlier this month, Janssen/Pharmacyclics announced they had submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) for Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval of ibrutinib, an oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor (BTK) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) for the treatment of patients with a deletion of the short arm of chromosome 17 (del17p). Here’s a link to July 10 press release.

The company have requested Priority review; approval later this year or in early 2014 is highly likely given that the agent has also been designated a Breakthrough Therapy by the FDA.

This is great news for CLL patients!

CLL is an incurable disease. It is the most common leukemia in the United States with 15,500 new diagnoses a year.

Chromosomal abnormalities are fairly common in CLL and predict both time to first treatment and overall survival i.e. how long someone will live. Sadly, those with a 17p deletion have the worst outcome and a poor prognosis.

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