Biotech Strategy Blog

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

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In today’s post we answer some reader mailbag questions pertaining to targeting BET/bromodomain inhibitors and what we’ve learned since our original landscape review from early 2016 when they were an emerging new class in the oncology R&D space – how time flies!

Is it time-up for the bromodomain class?

Of course, as usually happens in the targeted therapy space we see a glut of pan inhibitors trying to block everything in sight to a greater or lesser degree… we’ve see this with BRAF, FGFR, PI3K, and even KRAS inhibitors, as well as numerous others, yet these rarely turn out to be the bees knees we’re secretly looking for. Bromodomains, I have long argued, were ripe to fall in this category as well.

Instead, it is better to patiently wait for the next generation molecules where they are much more selective in their actions and matched to the tumour target we are looking to hit.

Think about the BRAFV600E vs. pan BRAF inhibitors or KRASG12C/D vs. pan KRAS inhibitors, for example, or even FGFR2 or FGFR3 vs. pan FGFR inhibitors.

The same evolution may possibly happen in the BET/bromodomain space too.

The first generation of agents seemed to hit everything – BRD1, 2, 3, 4, and often BET as well. They suffered, however, with weak efficacy largely driven by challenges with the on-target, off-tumour effects that necessarily impact the therapeutic window.

Now we are starting to learn from a more focused approach with these agents. Four years on from our original landscape review, what’s hot and what’s not? Who’s in and who’s out? In terms of the magic roundabout of oncology R&D, are there any new gems we should eagerly be watching out for?

The short answer is yes… but what are they and who owns them?

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

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In the fourth part of our mini-series in novel targets and agents in development we turn to novel cell therapy approaches that are perhaps under the radar for many observers.

While these might seem bleak times during a pandemic, there’s always a silver lining somewhere

While much attention has been focused on antigen loss or downregulation of the target wih adoptive cell therapies, research continues to evaluate various solutions to the problem.

One obvious way is to develop dual CARs or target multiple antigen targets of relevance to the tumour type being investigated.

There are other potential solutions being looked at, both in preclinical animal models and in translational work using cells from people treated with HSCT or CAR T cell therapies.

Here, we look at an alternative immunotherapy approach, which with time may have utility in both hematologic malignancies, as well as solid tumours…

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on insights emerging our latest analysis and commentary subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Time to unlock some novel IO targets?

Continuing our latest four part mini-series, this one is on novel targets and agents and we now turn our attention to immuno-oncology in the last two articles pertaining to this particular topic.

You can read the first two articles on targeted therapies here and here.

For the avoidance of any doubt, this latest review is not about T cells, far from it.

Instead we cover six different areas, most of which are related or integrated in some shape of form.

There’s a lot of promising new science now coming out to help us better understand the underlying biology and also think out of the box about ways to enhance or improve on existing research.

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“Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.”  ~ Lisa B. Adams

In the first part of the review on novel targets in hematologic malignancies, we covered five key areas in detail relating to emerging new agents around BTK, BRD, BET, and E3 ligase modulators (CELMoDs).

Continuing our look at some additional novel targets and agents in early development in hematologic malignancies, in part two of this series we explore four additional areas that piqued our interest.

These mostly involve either small molecules or monoclonal antibodies.

In the next series, we shall look at emerging immunotherapy related targets, but for now there’s plenty of targeted therapies to focus on!

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on insights emerging our latest analysis and commentary subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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The annual ASH Dash often ends up with crowds waiting for the poster halls to open up – a daily scene captured from ASH19

With coronavirus and COVID–19 pretty much dominating attention and space in the global news on a daily basis lately, I am vividly reminded that not too long ago in December we attended the annual meeting at ASH in Orlando to experience busy scenes like the one on the right…

Imagine those packed crowds now in the current context – it doesn’t bear thinking about!

Which is why all of the oncology conferences we had been planning to attend this year are one-by-one postponing or outright cancelling their events until next year. This is going to create a lot of challenges for companies in terms of data release and presentations, to be sure, but what matters more is reducing the risk of the infection spread in order to limit the risk of serious cases developing.

The good news is that we do have a huge backlog of oncology data – novel targets, new agents, and emerging companies – to write about and share with our audience. There’s always a silver lining to be had if you look carefully enough.

Here’s one such example – a novel cancer target, agents in development, and an emerging company to highlight too…

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Part of the next wave of early immuno-oncology agents are focused on addressing the tumour microenvironment and inhibitory factors that dampen down immune responses.

As we look at all the options available, there are a few obvious ones such as physical barriers and inhibitory cytokines or chemokines, but beyond that are a vast array of other potential targets we can aim at therapeutically.

We have covered quite a few of these already, but here’s a new one to add to the list.

One particular advantage is that because it is early in development, few competitors have cottoned on to the concept yet. First mover advantage can have quite a few benefits, after all.

Here’s an important question to consider in terms of oncology R&D – would you rather explore a blue ocean strategy or follow the lemmings off the cliff and be 14th to market in a highly competitive red ocean?

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on insights emerging our latest analysis and commentary, including a company interview subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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There are multiple players in the Magic Roundabout, but are some more important than others and will different culprits turn out to have hidden meanings? You may never see Ermintrude in the same way again 😉

Without a doubt, there are multiple potential ways we can go about improving responses to cancer immunotherapy, not just in terms of targets, combination approaches, different modalities etc, but also by manipulating the tumour microenvironment or thinking about directing different immune cells in positive ways.

In our latest review, we look at one area where emerging work appears to bearing fruit as multiple groups suddenly get one of those, a-ha! moments.

It’s not just happening in one tumour type either, nor is it limited to one type of therapy or modality, which makes it all the more intriguing to think about.

We heard about one example of this mechanism last year and now it’s time to explore things in more detail. This also means companies quick on the uptake could well take advantage ahead of their competitors.

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

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We’re living in uncertain and challenging times as the coronavirus impacts healthcare providers around the world and puts them in the front line of exposure.

Meetings are being cancelled or postponed as companies and institutions batten down the hatches and restrict non-essential travel. Nobody wants their employees to bring back an infection, nor does anyone want to be stranded or quarantined in a far-flung place. I expect many hospitals will also want their staff to be readily available as the number of cases escalate in many countries.

We at BSB are also carefully considering our plans and which conferences in coming months we will attend in person, and expect it will be fewer than recent years. We’ve already cancelled attendance at a couple of international meetings and are actively considering whether we will cover others remotely too.

The worlds of oncology and the coronavirus are colliding in many ways, including on the scientific level too.

It turns out that key RNA transcription factors may have a role to play as therapeutic targets for both cancer and the coronavirus.

Science is very much about making connections. In this post, we’re taking a look at one transcription factor that could be a useful target in the context of both coronaviruses and oncology.

It’s time to look through an alternative window and see an entirely different perspective…

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We get to chat with many leading oncologists and cancer researchers on Biotech Strategy Blog – it’s truly one of the perks of the job to meet experts and hear them discuss their early research.

Like a tutorial, we have the opportunity to ask questions and improve our own understanding, but where it becomes really interesting is when they talk about promising translational opportunities, because this is what we are about.

How do you translate basic research into oncology new products and figure out where are the viable opportunities?

In this post, we spoke with one of the world’s leading immunologists – someone we’ve never spoken to before – who a few weeks ago spun-out a company to commercialize one of their early research areas and while we were doing the interview told us about another commercial opportunity they had in mind. This was very much “under the radar” and in a relatively earlier stage of commercialization. Both targets have potential for synergy in our view, particularly in combination strategies and cancer immunotherapy regimens.

With one company in stealth mode and the other only incorporated a matter of weeks ago (at time of writing they don’t yet have a website), it’s exciting to see science translation in action.

This is one of the reasons why one of the many tribes that read BSB are those in business development and licensing (BD&L) or investment roles.

In this post we interviewed the delightful Prof. Akiko Iwasaki from Yale. We’ve also put together commentary on the opportunities and the science behind them, as well as some recent anecdotes gleaned from another expert in one of the fields discussed.

If you are part of a BD&L team then do consider purchasing a group or team license. We’d be happy to have our group sales department discuss this further with you.

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on our latest analysis, commentary, and an expert interview with a leading immunologist, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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