Biotech Strategy Blog

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

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.

Curious to find out more about these novel ideas or iterations and get a heads up on insights from our ASH19 commentary?Subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

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 😉

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

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.

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

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…

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

Orlando bound for ASH!

What is old is new again…

I have that distinct feeling of deja vu with the ASH asbtract drop yesterday on several fronts. It’s quite a few years now since we wrote about the runners and riders in the BTK/PI3K race to market in CLL and by weird coincidence a topic I was covering by interview yesterday on the RAS pathway came up in one of the first ASH asbtracts I was reading, which was rather spooky. Clearly Halloween came slightly late to Florida this year!

So how do all these disparate topics hang together and why are we excited about a small cap biotech company that is largely under many people’s radar?

They have some unexpected unifying threads…

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on insights from the first of first ASH19 Previews, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

National Harbor, MD

With the abstract drop from the 2019 Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting now available, what can we learn from some of the research slated for formal oral presentation this year?

Here in part one (posters will be reviewed tomorrow) we take a look at a mix of preclinical and early clinical studies that grabbed our initial interest from the oral presentations – they include the good, bad, and intriguing – to see exactly what can be learned from this year’s mix of abstracts?

The short answer is quite a lot.

Every year the what to watch out for preview is a popular one.  This year there are some surprises in store as well as some particularly important findings that BSB readers may well be keen to find out more about ahead of the conference later this week in order to maximise their thinking and avoid the inevitable brain-fry and fatigue that sets in on Saturday afternoon…

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on insights from our SITC19 commentary, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

SITC 2019 Preview: After looking at exciting new developments in targeted therapies last week, it’s now time to switch horses and kick off our annual coverage of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting, which takes place in a few days time at National Harbor in Maryland.

National Harbor, MD

In the SITC 2019 Presidential Session this coming Saturday, one of the presentations we are eagerly looking forward to is by Dr Vyara Matson, a Post Doc in the lab of Dr Tom Gajewski at the University of Chicago.

Dr Matson will be presenting on “Patient-derived microbiota germ-free mouse model for identifying mechanisms of checkpoint blockade efficacy modulation.”

In our latest expert interview, we spoke to Dr Gajewski about the strategic concepts underpinning his work in the microbiome niche, where he has got to presently and where he plans to go next. It makes for fascinating reading, especially when you realise that as scientists, they are sceptical themselves and yet curious to discover the answers through carefully thought out experiments that could impact future patient care for those people receiving immunotherapy for the treatment of their particular cancer.

One major take home for us in following the cancer immunotherapy niche is that there could well be different mechanisms at play for primary and secondary resistance – where does the microbiome fit in with this, and can it be manipulated to create a more positive benefit?  Is the effect a real one or a spurious correlation?  These kind of questions, along with a host of others, are some of the key topics discussed in the expert interview.

If you have plans to be at #SITC2019 do let us know, as we always look forward to saying “hello” to BSB readers.

Subscribers can read more on why we think this work is innovative and important to our understanding of what’s going on in responders and non-responders by logging in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

Fall in Boston during the AACR-NCI-EORTC Triple meeting

After recent updates on targeting KRASG12C and HRAS, let’s not forget that there are plenty of other elements of the RAS pathway that can be considered, not least is upstream receptor kinases such as EGFR and sideways to SHP2.

What happens when those worlds collide?

Quite a bit it would seem.

If we want to seriously impact patient outcomes for the better then we need to explore rational combination approaches.

Here’s one way to do it…

Please note that this is an early target with not very many competitors, so there’s plenty that can happen here on multiple fronts!

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

Fall in Boston in time for TRIPLE19

Boston – It looks like being RAS week at the AACR-NCI-EORTC Triple meeting aka Targets19. Yesterday we explored the first-in-man data for the Mirati small molecule inhibitor, MRTX849, in KRASG12C mutant cancers that included lung and colon carcinomas.

In terms of aberrant activity in cancer, RAS comes in three different flavours, if you will – KRAS, NRAS, and HRAS.

After plenty of coverage of KRAS (and more yet to come!), it’s now time to turn our attention to a rather different oncogene driver and put HRAS to be in the spotlight.  Here, we offer an updated look at the progress of Kura Oncology’s tipifarnib in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (SCCHN) and assess the potential opportunity for approval in this setting.

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

Boston – One of the most enjoyable things about writing about science and early clinical oncology data is the relationships we build with thought leaders, such that they can be open and honest about their reactions, without them being judged, misinterpreted, or misquoted. We’re on a journey with them, whatever the ups and downs might bring, in a bid to capture the realities of the oncology R&D rollercoaster.

Don’t be fooled by the gloomy Boston weather as a metaphor for data presented at Targets19!

Each story becomes a snapshot in time, a short of ‘Kodak moment’, if you will.

Imagine then, capturing a discussion with a global lung thought leader discussing the initial data from the first-in-man trial with a KRASG12C inhibitor from Mirati (MRTX849) and his experiences in treating people with advanced lung cancer who have the dreaded KRAS mutation, which until recently there were no effective options for.

Thus, we captured the exuberance of seeing objective responses in patients for the first time, “It’s fantastic!” and at the same time qualifying that with a balanced and candidly objective perspective, “it’s still early days.”

Both are true, and not mutually exclusive.

In between these two extremes there is much to think about including understanding the inevitable resistance mechanisms that evolve (primary and secondary), figuring out how to optimize the combination trials as well as reactions to other, seemingly competitive, developments. Our expert in the hot seat today had some rather thought provoking ideas on these important topics to discuss that we wanted to share and stimulate some debate on.

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

Sign Up for New Post Alerts
error: Content is protected !!