Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘Pharmacyclics’

It’s time to answer some more subscriber questions. Several readers wrote in and asked about the anti-PD1 checkpoint data that was presented at the recent American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cHL):

What did we think of it?

Well, for starters it was one of our highlights of the ASH 2014 conference (see quick write-up, open access), with an impressive 87% response rate for nivolumab in refractory cHL. Many of these patients had failed both autologous stem cell transplant and brentuximab (Adcetris), for which FDA granted breakthrough therapy designation.

ASH14 CHECKPOINTSOverall, I agreed with Ron Levy (Stanford) when he noted in the packed Special Session on Checkpoint inhibitors in Hematology that there were only 4 or 5 abstracts to actually discuss (he didn’t spend much time on the preliminary data) and that the results are still very early without seeing how good the durability will be.

As he observed in the session, which was standing room only, figuring out how best to integrate these new agents into clinical practice with other successful approaches will be most interesting.

That said, there are some new data that have emerged since ASH that are worthy of discussion in terms of potential future directions and how they could impact the checkpoint landscape in both hematologic malignancies and even solid tumours.

This is part of our ongoing immuno-oncology series on how we can manipulate T cells in creative ways to kill the cancer cells.  The findings discussed in this article are completely new and have not been discussed here before.

To learn more about this latest exciting research, you can sign in or sign up in the box below.

Now that the last of the 2013 cancer conference season is finally over, we’re going to run a couple of post meeting summaries this week from ASH as a few subscribers have asked for the Cliff Notes version of what was hot – or not in the context of the market.

New treatments for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) was one of the hot topics at the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in New Orleans.

Hot on the heels of Roche’s recent FDA approval for Gazyva (obinutuzumab/GA101) in CLL, other companies in the race to market including:

  • Pharmacyclics and Johnson & Johnson (ibrutinib)
  • Gilead (idelalisib, GS-9973)
  • Infinity (IPI-145)
  • AbbVie and Roche (ABT-199/GDC-0199)
  • Novartis (CTL019).

Here’s my subjective and personal assessment of the winners and losers based on the data presented:

Originally, I was thinking of doing an in-depth review of lymphomas i.e. non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), which involve 85% of lymphomas and Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL), which take up the remaining 15%. This topic, however, has been largely done to death already.

There are are some very useful sources of carefully curated content that I enjoy following every year and in this post I’m going to direct you to some of those and highlight where I think the critical topics are in lymphomas.

Companies mentioned: Roche, GSK, AbbVie, Pharmacyclics, Gilead, Infinity, Seattle Genetics

Drugs mentioned: Rituxan, Arzerra, Gazyva, ABT-199, ibrutinib, idelalisib, IPI-145, Adcetris 

The chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) landscape has been one of the most dynamic and exciting over the last 12 months, with many new therapies emerging against different targets from CD20 to BCR signaling, Bcl2 to the PI3K pathway. Other new targets may also soon emerge.

The annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in New Orleans sets the scene for the rollout of more mature data and affords an early evaluation of where the various companies competing in this space may shake out.  Given that we are moving beyond traditional chemoimmunotherapy to evaluate several newer classes of therapy including B cell receptor (BCR) and PI3K signaling, anti-CD20 antibodies, anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T cell technology (CART) it looks to be shaking out to an exciting conference.

Companies mentioned: Roche/Genentech, Gilead, Pharmacyclics, Abbott, Celgene, Infinity, Incyte, ONO, Amgen, TG Therapeutics, Novartis

Products discussed: rituximab, bendamustine, obinutuzumab, idelalisib, ibrutinib, ABT-199, CC-292, GS-9973, IPI-145, ONO-4059, INCB40093, AMG 319, TGR-1202, CTL-019

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