Biotech Strategy Blog

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

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Checkpoint fight at the Alamo in San Antonio? Say it ain’t so!

This is the $64M question that will be on many people’s mind after seeing two SABCS headlines today:

“Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Treatment with Pembrolizumab Improves Pathologic Complete Response Rates for Patients with Triple-Negative Breast Cancerwith Lymph Node Involvement.”

“Combining Atezolizumab with Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Does Not Improve Pathologic Complete Response Rates for Patients with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.”

In order to answer the question fairly, there are plenty of critical points we can look at in order to address it.

That’s the topic of today’s post in a nutshell… and yes, we do come to a firm conclusion.

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San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio – It’s time to switch horses and focus on the annual meeting of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).

There have been many exciting developments in the HER2-positive niche and this meeting is no different in terms of new agents with promising (and some not so promising) to discuss.

We take a look at the tucatinib and trastuzumab deruxtecan data and put them in context because there are some nuances involved in both that need careful consideration.

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ASH19 in Orlando, FL

Orlando: In the second of our ASH19 reports, we offer a comprehensive and in-depth look at important data presented over the weekend where we breakdown some of the key findings or trial readouts, which are likely of interest to many readers given the heightened attention on novel therapeutic approaches.

Whether the hematologic malignancy is myeloma, leukemia, or lymphoma, we have been rather spoiled for choice in selections for hot topics to discuss this year, so the series will likely run all week!

Here’s the second of our detailed ASH notes…

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In Pharmaland it is frequently the case that once a target has been validated there’s always new developments in the form of novel agents that emerge, as well as emerging new related targets to consider.

Standing from the KRAS crowd

Here we combine an update on some new market entrants in the KRAS niche with an expert interview discussing how to address a known area of acquired resistance that has recently been highlighted.  Naturally, that also brings with it yet more novel targets and potential combination strategies that may need to be considered by players in this space.

Yes, KRAS G12C is now a rapidly evolving area with multiple players and many moving parts, whereas even just back in January this year many observers saw it as a three horse race – think again, it’s much deeper and broader than that somewhat naive hypothesis already!

As usual, we follow these races longitudinally with regular updates and explain why new scientific findings need to be considered if we are to make a difference in the clinic with future combination strategies.

Are you ready for the latest game of 3D chess?

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ASH19 Targeted Therapies Preview: This year’s ASH in Orlando is very much dominated by new developments on the immunotherapy front in terms of both T and NK cell therapies, with some passing interest in BTK inhibitors as well.

It’s not always sunny in Florida…

What about targeted therapies and the science behind those developments?

It was not that long ago that these were the main lifeblood of the meeting across many, if not most, hematologic malignancies. How times have changed!

That said, outside of the CARs (T and NK cells), as well as bispecific immunotherapies, and BTK inhibitors there are still some gems to be found amongst the rest of the ASH19 abstracts.

Here we highlight an additional 10 abstracts involving early pipeline areas that encompass some novel targets, new combination approaches, or emerging science.

Please note that the novel targets can take the form of classic targets or IO ones since they didn’t fit in the prior ASH Preview topics already reviewed under separate cover

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Orlando

Yesterday we looked at ten innovative approaches centred around T cell-based developments emerging from the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting that is taking place in Orlando next month.

Let’s not forget, however, that there are also other immune cells, including NK cells and quite a few others, which can be manipulated into cancer therapeutics for the treatment of hematologic malignancies.

Some of these are intriguing early preclinical research that may form next generation technologies in the future, while others take the form of up and coming early clinical data that readers may be interested to learn more about.

Here we highlight nine emerging immunotherapy approaches to consider that don’t involve T cells…

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Breathing fire into cancer immunotherapies with novel approaches

It would be all to easy an exercise to pick out our top 10 abstracts of any particular conference and share them, which tends to create a somewhat skewed perspective because there are often many pieces of research that we may wish to highlight for entirely different reasons, making the exercise rather limited in scope.

Instead, how about 10 cool or next generation approaches that could have an impact in oncology in the future?

This approach generated a quite different and really eclectic list that can also have existing approaches referenced in context, so that we can see where the puck is moving towards as opposed to merely following it.

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Some of the upcoming coming small biotechs caught our attention and may turn out to be future stars

National Harbor – There were quite a few gems in the poster halls and oral presentations from up and coming small cap biotechs at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting this year.

Who were they and what did we learn from them?

In the latest part of our latest SITC coverage we highlight 13 presentations – 11 from small biotechs and 2 academic abstracts – that caught our attention, explain what’s intriguing about them and why they matter.

There’s not a single big Pharma included (unless as a reference point or given in combination) since the focus is mainly on up and coming companies with their novel approaches.

The list is quite selective and not at all random from a list of over 850 abstracts.

So what stood out and what was special about them?

Some of the selections are likely hidden sleepers that few will be familiar with… they also cover a wide range of approaches, targets, different modalities and even strategic intent.

Even if you were at the SITC 2019 meeting, increasingly there were more business meetings taking up valuable time than sessions attended, so this is a great way to catch all the highlights for your trip report 😉

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In honour of Armistice / Veteran’s Day 11/11

National Harbor – We’re continuing our SITC 2019 coverage with a look at some intriguing and likely controversial data.

The Best Clinical Data at SITC wasn’t NextCure’s NC318 Siglec–15 (more on that tomorrrow)

But…

Nektar’s pegylated IL–2, bempeg, in combination with nivolumab in frontline metastatic melanoma.

The controversy will no doubt continue to rage with fervent fans and equally intense deniers, but what can we learn from the latest data that was presented by Dr Adi Diab and where are things likely headed?

Included in this latest update are an in-depth thought provoking expert interview with Nektar’s Dr Jonathan ‘JZ’ Zalevsky, plus commentary and analysis on what this all means when we look at the bigger strategic picture.

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Welcome to SITC19!

National Harbor: It’s time for the first of our daily highlights and review of key data that was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).

The first day is usually taken up by some longer review sessions on key topics, intermingled with some rapid fire oral talks on emerging areas where we get to hear some young investigators talk about their ongoing projects.

This results in some broad updates, as well as some specific areas of early R&D in the IO space that often end up as key areas to watch out for over time. This year is no different in that respect…

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