Beyond the late breaking abstracts and plenary sessions at the European Cancer Conference being held in Vienna, Austria later this month, what other important topics can we expect to hear about?
We covered the former in the last article on Biotech Strategy Blog, today we turn our attention to the proffered (oral) sessions and what we can learn from those sessions and the expected data that is due to be presented.
There are a number of interesting topics and new data slated for presentation that are worthy of review and highlighting in a What To Watch out For (W2W4) format.
Here’s our take on the potential highlights at the meeting.
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Last month’s Biotech Strategy mailbag – where we answer questions from subscribers – turned out to be rather controversial with strong feelings running in several camps on Puma Biotech’s neratinib in breast cancer.
This time around we have a bunch of questions on completely different topics and compounds to cover:
- BRAF plus MEK and/or immunotherapy in BRAFV600 metastatic melanoma
- Immunogen’s IMGN853 – now known as mirvetuximab soravtansine – in platinum resistant ovarian cancer
- AbbVie/Genentech’s ABT–199/GDC–0199 venetoclax
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There can be no doubt that immuno-oncology is a hot topic in cancer research of late with checkpoint inhibitors, immune agonists, immunocytokines, CAR T cells, TILs, TCRs, not forgetting innate immunotherapies. We’ve written extensively about many of these topics, but what about the companies behind them and their strategies?
One thing subscribers tell us they love reading about here on BSB is not only fireside chats with thought leaders, but also interviews behind the scenes with company personnel, be scientists, clinicians or CSOs.
Recently, we’ve posted some interviews with Roche and Genentech scientists/physicians about their IO platform that were well received. Today, it’s the turn of AstraZeneca and MedImmune, who are also developing checkpoint inhibitors and immune agonists against various cancers.
With the anti-PD1 antibodies i.e. Merck’s pembrlizumab (Keytruda) and BMS’s nivolumab (Opdivo) already approved by the FDA, and Roche/Genentech’s atezolizmuab well on the way to filing in advanced urothelial bladder cancer with the announcement this week that the IMvigor 210 trial in relapsed/refractory disease met its primary endpoint, the big question now remains is what’s happening with the fourth element of the quartet? How well is progress coming along there and what is the main focus we can expect in the near future?
Like most Brits, when AstraZeneca noted back in 2013 that they expect to establish their global R&D hub in Cambridge, I assumed they meant in the Golden Triangle and not Massachusetts. This is a burgeoning area for European biotech research, which is somewhat ironic after the KuDos scientists working on olaparib (Lynparza) moved to Alderley Park in Cheshire with the acquisition and will likely face moving back again!
At ASCO, we had the pleasure of a chat with Dr Rob Iannone, the head of the AstraZeneca Immuno-oncology development program. The company also published a number of interesting abstracts and posters that were on show in Chicago, as well as a burgeoning pipeline in this area beyond their lead compounds, the anti-PDL1 inhibitor, durvalumab (MEDI4736) and tremelimumab (anti-CTLA4).
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As we wrap up our AACR coverage, I can’t believe it’s already time to discuss the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting already – it seems to come around way too fast.
Over the last few years, we’ve reported on the rapid and impressive rise of innate, adoptive and adaptive immunotherapies in cancer research and wondered how long it would take before we see such data presented in the plenary session. That actually happens this year… finally!
A checkpoint trial makes the ASCO 2015 Plenary!
It does look like 2015 is the year that checkpoint inhibitors cannot be ignored for plenary selection with the wealth at data available at first AACR and now ASCO emerging.
This is no bad thing, especially given these drugs can affect the long tail of survival and are really starting to impact the dismal 5-year survival rates in metastatic melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Beyond those two tumour types, what else can we expect to see and how is the data likely to shape up? We took a look at the abstracts available based on the titles only, the actual abstracts themselves come out next week.
What did we find?
You can check out our first Preview on the Top 10 immunotherapy trials with checkpoint blockade by signing up or logging in the box below…
Immuno-oncology is one of the hottest topics, if not, the hottest in cancer drug development at the moment, and every conference seems to advance the field forward. The pace of progress is breathtaking as thought leaders and pharma & biotech seek to maximize how to leverage the body’s immune system in the fight against cancer. It’s exciting times!
Coming up next on the calendar are two cancer conferences, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) held in Maryland later this week, followed swiftly by the EORTC-AACR-NCI Molecular Targets conference (often referred to as the Triple meeting by industry insiders) in Barcelona just before Thanksgiving.
Whoa, that’s a lot of data yet to come, and then in December we have the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).
Back home in the Blighty, November is often referred to as the ‘month of the drowned dog’ because it rains a lot… at this rate it’s more like raining data – let’s hope not too many agents are headed for dog drug heaven! The good news for subscribers is there’s a lot of conference coverage to come!
So here we are, after nearly two dozen posts, it’s time to close out the 2014 ESMO coverage with a final review of the immuno-oncology posters that piqued our interest.
There were 16 in all that fitted that category. Normally, we highlight three or four gems from the poster halls, so more than a baker’s dozen is quite a feast.
To learn more about what caught our attention, you can sign in or sign up below.
Madrid – it’s Day 2 of the European Society for Medical Oncology (Twitter #ESMO14) annual meeting and the Congress is now in full swing. Today one of the highlights is the Presidential Session that takes place this afternoon. It’s where all attendees have the opportunity to hear what ESMO think is the most noteworthy data at the meeting, irrespective of the type of cancer.
Yesterday, we launched our Live ESMO blog series for Day 1, with commentary and insights posted throughout the day. If you missed the afternoon and evening notes, you can check them out.
Meanwhile, we’re really looking forward to hearing the CLEOPATRA trial overall survival (OS) data in HER2+ metastatic breast cancer at 4pm CET this afternoon.
CLEOPATRA (CLinical Evaluation Of Pertuzumab And TRAstuzumab) is an international, Phase III, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The study evaluated the efficacy and safety profile of pertuzumab (Perjeta) combined with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and docetaxel chemotherapy compared to trastuzumab and chemotherapy plus placebo in 808 women with previously untreated HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (mBC) or with HER2-positive mBC that that had recurred after prior therapy in the adjuvant or neo-adjuvant setting.
Sally wrote on Pharma Strategy Blog about the PFS data for the trial which was first presented at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).
As Sally noted back in 2011, “the idea behind combining pertuzumab (Perjeta) and trastuzumab upfront is to enable a more comprehensive shut down of the HER2 pathway and delay resistance setting in.”
We’re now looking forward to the final overall survival data that will be presented for the first time at a conference by Dr Sandra Swain (Washington DC) in the Presidential Session at ESMO this afternoon.
There’s a press briefing between 8 and 9 where this data will be featured, so expect news releases to follow soon after this. Out of respect to researchers and those who come to these meetings to hear the data, we typically don’t write about data until after it’s been presented, so expect our initial commentary and analysis to follow later in the day on the blog.
What else are we looking out for at the Congress today and which sessions will the Mav be in? Subscribers can login in to read more or you can sign up below.
Yesterday, the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) released the abstracts to the poster and poster discussion sessions. This preview will be quite long by nature of it being the first time we get a look at the topline details behind some of the key sessions and their abstracts for both immunotherapies (especially checkpoint inhibitors) and targeted therapies. This includes posters and their discussion sessions, plus poster late breaking poster titles.
For reference, you can find the ESMO 2014 poster and poster discussion abstracts can be found here.
In addition, there appears to be some pretty cool presentations in the Special Symposia, which are rather like ASCO scientific symposia and contain a lot of useful information and often strategic ideas about where thought leaders see hot topics going in the future. This can be very helpful in learning about possibilities for new clinical trials ahead of time. As we focus on the poster highlights today, do check back tomorrow for a detailed look at the scientific symposia.
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Over the last few days, we’ve covered data from the leading checkpoint inhibitors from BMS, Merck and Roche, but what about other agents in development in immuno-oncology? One of the companies that burst on the scene in Chicago at ASCO 2014 with solid data was AstraZeneca with their anti-PD-L1, MEDI4736.
To put progress in context, last year Merck had one single abstract for MK–3475 (pembrolizumab), whereas this year MEDI4736 debuted with 7 abstracts, including several Trials in Progress posters in combination with their anti-CTLA4, tremelimumab, plus some important oral presentations too.
The last morning of the final day of the ASCO conference has not exactly been well attended in past years, especially in Developmental Therapeutics. This year was different – the large hall was jam packed and it was standing room only. I was lucky to get one of the last seats in the front row a good 15–20 mins early!
As we were waiting for the proceedings to start, the Japanese doctor sitting next to me turned and said:
“What do you think of this compound? I’m not expecting much, and they are behind the others already!”
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Some interesting early drugs in development were presented in a packed session this morning, across a wide variety of targets and tumour types. The four that stood out from the pack to me were:
1) MEDI4736 (anti-PD-L1)
2) GDC-0980 (dual PI3K/mTOR)
3) BKM120 (buparlisib) + GSK112 (trametinib) (PI3K + MEK)
4) alectinib (ALK)