On the final day of AACR, in a packed session chaired by Tom Gajewski, MD PhD (Chicago), the meeting heard from Tom W. Dubensky, Jr, PhD Chief Scientific Officer of Aduro Biotech in a presentation (SY39-02) entitled:
“Direct activation of STING in the tumor microenvironment leads to potent and systemic tumor regression and immunity.”
I spoke with Dr Dubensky (pictured) afterwards. In my interview recording you can hear Vice President Biden’s cavalcade arrive at the Ernest Morial convention center in New Orleans for his plenary presentation.
Since AACR 2016, Aduro announced that the first patient has been dosed with ADU-S100 (MIW815) in a May 12 press release. This triggered a $35M milestone payment from Novartis, who are undertaking the clinical trial (NCT02675439).
In March 2015, Aduro entered a collaboration with Novartis that, according to the Aduro press release, led to an initial payment of $200M and an additional $50M in equity investment.
After the recent failure of their pancreatic cancer vaccine, announced in a May 16 press release, there is a lot riding on ADU-S100 for both Aduro and Novartis.
I had the privilege to interview Dr Gajewski last year at Immunity 2015, where we talked about his work on STING (see post: Tom Gajewski takes the STING out of cancer). You can hear a short excerpt from the interview on Episode 2 of the Novel Targets Podcast.
So a year later it’s a good time to return to the STING pathway and take a fresh look at what Aduro/Novartis are doing.
For this post, I’ve chosen to write this up as a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of ADU-S100 based on what I learnt at AACR from talking with Dr Dubensky and other experts.
Your SWOT analysis of ADU-S100 may be different from mine, you may have access to other sources of information, an alternative opinion, or reach an entirely different conclusion. There is no right or wrong answer. We all view the world through our own individual bias and lens.
Before you read this post, I heartily encourage you to map out on the “back of an envelope” – or as I’d say in England, on the “back of a fag packet” – what your SWOT analysis looks like. That way you can compare yours to mine.
By definition, we’re dealing with a new product in early clinical development, where many questions remain unanswered. It’s always easier to see the picture after all the cards have been dealt……