Biotech Strategy Blog

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

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As often happens in cancer research, a new class of compounds emerges every so often, fades out with various tricky clinical challenges then roars back again anew with target variations on a similar theme, as new data become available.

Most cancer signalling pathways veer towards the complex rather than simple, so can we learn from the past and try again by aiming at different compartments and cells?

Some recent translational data relating to IO and cancer immunotherapy can offer us fresh hope for potential novel combinations, especially with immunotherapies rather than chemotherapies.

The molecule designs have also moved on too thus offering additional opportunities and possibilities, which may not have the same difficulties with the therapeutic window limitations seen a decade ago.

There’s always something new to be hopeful about, so let’s take a look at what new ideas are emerging from the doldrums…

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on the latest insights and analysis pertaining to oncology R&D, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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One of the big challenges with cancer research is sorting out the wheat from the chaff in terms of viable targets.

If you think about it, just as we have drivers and passengers in traditional targeted therapy approaches to consider, there are also valid targets versus markers in immuno-oncology too.

We have written quite a bit about novel targeted therapy approaches of late and now it’s time to switch to IO again.

Sometimes aiming at a particular target might lead to a series of rather disappointing results in certain tumour types, yet suddenly looks much more intriguing and useful in a quite different setting.

We’ve talked about finding the sweet spot in aiming at the right cell, right compartment quite a bit on BSB, and this latest example certainly fits into this category…

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This weekend saw a variety of updated data presentations roll out from ASCO GI – think of the wide range of tumour types encompassing gastric, colorectal, liver, biliary, and pancreatic cancers.

What stood out from the crowd and why?

What are the threads and connections which might hold things together?

And why does KRAS keep cropping up in unusual and unexpected places?

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Shining a light on hidden gems in the myeloma niche

If we want to go beyond the proteasome inhibitors, IMiDs and anti-CD38 antibodies in multiple myeloma, there are plenty of emerging candidates these days.

This is excellent news, but how will it all fit together, and which gems were under-rated at the recent ASH meeting?

The latter may catch a few people by surprise when the clinical aspects are considered in the totality of what needs to be done and in which patient subsets.

We discuss near and medium term aspects, which may have a lasting impact and also talk about why they matter.

To find out, the final part of our myeloma mini-series offers an engaging and thoughtful fireside chat with a global thought leader in this niche…

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With all the time and attention surrounding the BCMA-based products in multiple myeloma, including ADCs and CAR-T cell therapies, it’s easy to forget there are other approaches coming down the pike.

Building new mosaics and novel regimens in myeloma is coming

Beyond the hullabaloo there are various bispecific antibodies and T cell engagers in early stage development – not only is the modality different, but the targets might differ too.

How are all of these novel approaches doing in the clinic and how might they all fit together in future regimens? The myeloma world as we know it of proteasome inhibitors and IMiDs may not yet be a thing of the past, but the landscape is certainly changing.

In our third installment of the myeloma mini-series, we tackle these issues and look at near and medium term strategic directions, which can be considered and how these might impact different combination approaches and lines of therapy in order to further improve outcomes in this disease.

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As part of our latest mini-series focusing on multiple myeloma, yesterday we looked at the BMS approach to tackling multiple myeloma with a variety of different modalities against BCMA and other targets.

Today it’s the turn of J&J’s Janssen to be in the BSB hot seat.

In the first part of the company interview today, we take a look at their current and strategic directions in CAR-T cell therapies, including some thought leader reactions. In the second part tomorrow morning we discuss what they are doing with their T cell engagers against different targets in multiple myeloma.

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Over the last decade we have seen great strides taking place in the field of multiple myeloma as the disease has moved from an acute to a more chronic one with the advent of proteasome inhibitors and IMiDs. We’re still not curing many people, however.

The good news is there is now a raft of completely different agents with varying novel targets and modalities emerging at a rapid pace in early to near-term clinical development.

This raises some important strategic questions to think about for the future way beyond which ones look most promising because the bigger question is how will new regimens evolve to challenge the standard of care in each line of treatment?

CAR-T cell therapies are certainly in the mix here, but where will they be optimally used in the future, how do we go about figuring out which people should receive which particular option?

The issues at stake are much more complex than simply asking which BCMA directed therapy is going to be the ‘winner’ because myeloma doesn’t work like this given the preponderence of doublet and triplet regimens.

A better way of exploring new opportunities will be to consider who has what synergies with whom and how might they fit together in a more cogent and coherent fashion.

In order to explore the evolving multiple myeloma landscape, we decided to take a step back and explore the new options from a more strategic perspective. To accomplish this, we interviewed two companies who are active in this niche as well as some specialist thought leaders. It’s a highly relevant time to consider the issues given the broad discussions likely to emerge at JPM21 this week.

We kick off the latest mini-series with a look at the BMS pipeline opportunities in myeloma, who will be followed by J&J tomorrow, and finally discussion with a global expert on Wednesday – so without much ado, let’s roll!

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In the last post from SABCS, we looked at what’s new on the translational front with the MYC oncogene in terms of breast cancer.

This time around we turn our attention to other targets and subsets of interest, which don’t involve immunotherapy – more on the latter in a separate article.

Today’s featured image is inspired by my dear friend Jody Schoger and Lisa Adams, who inspired us to find a little beauty in the world each day, no matter how hard it might seem.  2015 was very bad year for losing wonderful BioTwitter chums in the breast cancer community – they may be gone, but never forgotten 🙁

In particular, we highlight new developments in four key areas of interest, with some intriguing observations to discuss…

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Finding pathways to success in breast cancer

The last week brough a huge tsunami of data across varied topics ranging from hematologic malignancies (ASH), breast cancer (SABCS) and immunotherapies (ESMO IO) – we’re still digging our way out of it all!

There’s plenty of detailed analyses yet to come from all of these meetings, including some KOL interviews and thought provoking pieces to consider as well.

Here we look at some translational findings from academic researchers as well as companies involved in clinical trials in breast cancer. Yes, it’s time for some post SABCS reviews on a series of different topics…

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Today’s title refers a little tongue in cheek to an old Britishism in reference to a 1960s film about group travel of all things – in those days people apparently took bus tours to various places around Europe to see the sights, often with disastrous results or with comedic events ensuing…

For me, in the modern world the catchy phrase has always been about the transfer or shuttle day between different cities for cancer conferences – sometimes ASCO and EHA have been back to back, for example, while Tuesday is always the frantic shuttle day between ASH and SABCS for many.  At least this year with the virtual events there won’t be unexpected delays due to an ice storm in Dallas or some other vagary of inclement weather causing chaos!

As we straddle events between ASH and SABCS, not to mention ESMO IO coming up at the weekend, it’s time for some discussion around some emerging feel-good data to be greatly encouraged by, as well as a thought leader interview from a specialist in the TKI space.

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on the latest insights, expert interview, and commentary pertaining to the ASH meeting, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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