Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Lugano: This post offers a rundown and synopsis of a wide variety of lymphoma trials across different subsets coming out of the 15th International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (iCML) being in Lugano, Switzerland this week.

Lugano is a glorious place to hold a meeting!

The meeting is held every two years on odd years, usually after the EHA conference.

As such, this review may well turn out to be a useful reference point for later offering background and context for the upcoming ASH meeting in December, since there will likely be additional trial updates and readouts in Orlando.

Some of the updates on the early phase 1/2 trials reference preclinical posters from old AACR meetings circa 2012–2014, which is why the Gems from the Poster Hall series can often turn out to be useful predictors of later clinical trials performance!

There’s a lot to cover and discuss this year and some intriguing developments under the radar…

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We’ve been covering cytokines and chemokines for several years now before they were hot cakes in the oncology space.

Fighting a way through the poster scrums or mosh pit is art in itself!

With a raft of new companies emerging in this area to challenge established players, things are getting much more interesting of late. That means it’s time for a new mini series exploring these opportunities through the eyes of the CEOs and CSOs.

We ask what’s different about their approaches and look at why should you be paying attention to them.

We begin with the first of a new three part series exploring novel and intriguing ways to activate cytokines and stimulate the immune system in various cancers.

This story begins with some new Gems from the Poster Halls that readers may well find fascinating…

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Amsterdam – this weekend it’s time to showcase some important updates in hematology from the European Hematology Association (EHA).

It’s really hard not to like continental Europe when you see scenes like this from a major conference:

T cell lymphomas is not a topic we cover very often but it looks like it will receive attention here three times in a month with news from Corvus at ASCO and now an update on the intriguing story on CXCL12-positive AML and PTCL from Kura Oncology.

We’ve been following the latter story for a while now and after the previous looks at the rationale behind the translational data, it’s now time to explore what happens in clinical practice from their ongoing phase 2 clinical trial…

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Corvus Pharmaceuticals LogoA biotech company we’ve been following for several years – on what has turned out to be a rollercoaster ride so far – is Corvus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CRVS).

They were pioneers in targeting the adenosine pathway with their adenosine A2A receptor antagonist,  CPI–444, now known as ciforadenant.

So what’s new at Corvus? It turns out quite a lot.

At ASCO 2019, BSB caught up with Richard A Miller MD, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Corvus Pharmaceuticals to learn more about their progress and importantly, where they’re headed.

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In wave 3 of the immuno-oncology surge things have slowed down, partly due to a raft of combination trials yet to read out and partly because the reality has finally hit that tumour heterogeneity means there will be variable patient responses.

Just getting from room to room on time can be a real challenge with 40,000 other people present!

This complexity can come about in many forms… immunosuppression, alterations in gene functions, resistance and immune escape, to name a few.

If we want to help more people respond to these therapies then before we can rush headlong into another round of combination trials, we first have to go back to looking carefully at the underlying biology of the diseases and listen to what the patient’s tumours are telling us in order to fix things.

To accomplish this feat requires considerable time, energy, effort, and a lot of bioinformatics.

In this post we explore five key talks that highlight different aspects of biomarkers of response and mechanisms of resistance.  From there, we may see additional validation and prospective testing to determine how best to segment people so that they have the greatest chance of responding to the therapy administered.

One thing that most people don’t have these days is time, which is how we can help you because here’s a handy short cut to finding out more about five complex and diverse areas on biomarkers or IO resistance quickly and easily…

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Chicago – Having stayed until the last morning of the last day for a final expert interview and sessions on CAR-T therapy and metastatic breast cancer, there were certainly some interesting targets and findings to discuss in the post meeting analysis.

I particularly wanted to post some thoughts and commentary on the ongoing Macrogenics story around margetuximab, an anti-HER2 antibody that binds with elevated affinity to both the lower and higher affinity forms of CD16A, an Fc receptor.

In our last review in February, we noted that the company “could miss on PFS and have to wait for OS down the road,” which wasn’t far off given the rather weak PFS benefit of 0.9 months announced on May 15th.

We finally got to see the initial SOPHIA data presented at ASCO this morning by Dr Hope Rugo (UCSF), so what did we learn?

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Chicago – here we are with highlights and insights from Day 4 of #ASCO19 and time is running down on this meeting with just half a day to go – whew!

One of the highlights of medical and scientific meetings we go to is meeting early career researchers, especially those who are doing translational research.

On Monday at ASCO19 we particularly enjoyed talking with Dr Wungi Park (@W_Park_MD) from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who presented a poster on homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) as a biomarker in pancreatic cancer (abstract 4132).

We look forward to hearing more from him and colleagues as data is generated from the clinical trial they plan to start later in this year to investigate this further. Translational research in action!

What were some of our other highlights of Manic Monday at ASCO19? We’ve shared a few in the post below for BSB subs.

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Chicago: We’ve heard a lot of people say how they think this year’s annual meeting ASCO19 is not as good for data as previous years, and we’re going to have to respectfully disagree.

On Sunday at ASCO19 there was a wealth of data on display in multiple sessions with some noticeable “winners and losers” when it comes to drugs in development.

Dr Hedy Kindler presents phase III POLO trial in Plenary Session at ASCO19. Data simultaneously published in NEJM.

In this post, we’ve some top-line commentary on some of the Sunday sessions we covered, and what caught our attention. As always our detailed analysis comes after the meeting in the “post-game” show.

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Chicago – the 2019 ASCO annual meeting is in full swing and it’s plenary Sunday where the jewels in the crown are presented.

Noteworthy this year is the olaparib data being presented by Dr Hedy Kindler.

In this post, we’ve commentary on the data we’ve heard so far, highlights from yesterday’s sessions, and what you can expect to hear today if you’re in Chicago for Plenary Sunday.

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The 2019 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (Twitter #ASCO19) is now in full swing, and we’re kicking off our on-site meeting coverage with a review of the some of the highlights of Friday here in Chicago.

In today’s Daily Highlights we offer seven areas of interest and offer commentary on the insights gleaned from the data that is rolling out so far…

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