Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘Bromodomain Inhibitors Prostate Cancer’

Yesterday saw the news that Tokai Pharmaceuticals ($TKAI) have filed plans for a $75M IPO, largely based on the potential of their phase 2 prostate cancer compound, galeterone.

My first reaction on seeing this was $75M – that’s a pretty small number.

It’s been many years since I project managed drug development trials but $75M does not go a long way if you want to run a global phase 3 program. It’s certainly pails into insignificance in comparison to the recent $308M raised by Juno in Series A & B financing.

A cynical view would be to see this as the initial investors looking for a ‘save face’ exit strategy. Tokai have spent the last 10 years seeking to bring a novel prostate cancer drug to market, and they are still only in phase 2. To put this in perspective, they were initially ahead of Medivation!

Fast forward 10 years and the prostate market is now highly competitive, with other new products ahead of galeterone in development including next generation androgen receptor antagonists: ARN-509 (acquired by JNJ from Aragon) and ODM-201 (Bayer/Orion). We’ve also seen a several drugs that showed promise in phase 2, fall by the way side in phase 3; dasatinib from BMS and Orteronel  (TAK-700) from Takeda/Millennium readily come to mind.  Caveat emptor!

At ASCO 2014, there was a lot of interesting data in the oral prostate cancer session, which provided insights into the challenges (in addition to the competition) and opportunities that may exist for galeterone.

I have no intention of taking any future position in $TKAI. This piece offers no recommendation on whether you should invest or not.

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A predictive biomarker for prostate cancer drug resistance may lead to new drug development opportunities.

At ASCO 2014, one of the prostate cancer highlights was the oral presentation by Emmanuel Antonarakis MB BCh, Assistant Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins.

He presented elegant research, albeit in a small group of patients, about how constitutively active splice variants (AR-V’s) may represent one potential mechanism of resistance to androgen receptor (AR) signalling inhibitors such as enzalutamide (Astellas/Medivation) and androgen synthesis inhibitors such as abiraterone (JNJ).

I spoke to Dr Charles Ryan, Professor of Medicine and Urology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) about the significance of the data to clinical practice, and the new drug development opportunities that may follow-on from it.

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