Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts from the ‘Hematology’ category

Are new pillars emerging in DLBCL?

It’s time to take a short break from the immunometabolism mini-series and turn our attention to aggressive lymphomas such as diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCL).

This week heralded the latest AACR virtual meeting on Advances in Lymphoma in conjunction with iCML.  There were plenty of science focused talks to listen to and learn from, including new developments in oncogenic targeting.

What if we can learn from what the patients underlying biology can teach us in terms of more rationally designed clinical trials?

We know these are diverse and heterogeneous tumours, but this doesn’t mean we can’t take a more precision medicine approach to treating patients.  What can we learn from early trial readouts and genetic analyses?

It turns out, the answer is quite a bit and more information might be available at the forthcoming ASH meeting, so let’s look at what we can piece together from the available data now…

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In our latest company interview we continue our ongoing AACR series on various protein degraders and how they may be useful in hitting difficult targets where small molecule TKIs have struggled mightily for various reasons, which we discuss in detail.

The protein degraders are what we might call large small molecules – they have a large molecular weight in Dalton terms – yet despite their unwieldy size they do offer a number of distinct benefits, which could potentially lead to improved efficacy, reduced toxicity, and enhanced outcomes in the setting of both cancer and autoimmune disease.  At least this is nice in theory, but what actually happens in practice?

Can we learn from the preclinical rationale and experiments to get a sense of what might happen in the clinic?

Find out more about what one emerging young biotech are accomplishing on the protein degradation front in both hematologic malignancies and solid tumours…

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All aboard the BCMA train – or not?

No matter, this was an interesting one with a few twists in the tale. It also offers some additional context as to why GSK’s experimental BCMA ADC therapy, belantamab vedotin, missed out on a late breaker at ASH.

When you read the briefing documents you can quickly see why this might have been the case.

In the latest installment of this story – the last one was the late breaker than wasn’t at ASH19 – things turned out to be rather more intriguing than many may have initially realised…

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Continuing our latest cell therapy mini-series, this time around we focus on a novel and creative approach to CAR-T cell therapy, which is quite different from what we have described before with other companies in this niche.

One emerging trend is the development of bi- and even tri- specific approaches designed to target multiple aberrations in the cancer cells, but what’s the best way to achieve this? Suppose we ditch the core dogma and try another way of doing things?

The entirely new concept making the splash is also coming from an emerging young biotech company few readers will likely have heard of, yet what they are doing reminds me we can borrow from the past and paraphrase a watch ad from the 1980’s for elegant and simple timepieces – some day all CAR-Ts will be made this way.

The secret sauce this time around isn’t quartz, however, but something completely different…

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In the second part of our cell therapy series this week, we take on three quite different issues.

These include the following:

  • A new dual CAR in development
  • Where cell therapy may be heading and how to address the limitations
  • The Cellectis CS–1/SLAMF7 clinical hold

Not all CAR T cell therapies are going to end up as a bridge to transplant – some of them are clearly intended to be more efficacious than their predecessors – but along the way the trials, tribulations and clinical challenges continue apace.

These are all meaty topics to consider, so with out much further ado, let’s roll…

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Last week we talked about finding ways to make the T cells work harder and smarter – there are numerous ways to do this, but cytokines might be one interesting way to begin the search.

What about NK and other immune cells though, can we do the same with these too?

This week we are focusing on various cell therapy approaches with some academic and industry interviews to share, along with some analysis of arising issues as well as some new developments to review and discuss.

In the first of the series, we have an academic thought leader in the spotlight who had a few interesting points to make on novel cell therapies…

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Virtual meetings mean we miss the fun of German pop-up sausage stands and focus solely on the new emerging clinical data!

EHA25 Virtual, Not-In-Frankfurt – There’s a lot of commercial interest in CD20 x CD3 bispecifics, and in this post we’re taking a look at some of the latest clinical data presented at recent ASCO and EHA virtual meetings. Companies mentioned include Regeneron, Roche/Genentech, Genmab/Abbvie, Xencor, and IGM Biosciences.

Any analysis of a rapidly evolving and fast-moving landscape only represents a snapshot in time at the point it was taken, and this post is not intended to be a comprehensive landscape report, you’d pay a lot more than a yearly sub to BSB for that, but we’ve been following the field, and there are some trends emerging.

What makes it interesting is there is some nuance required in the interpretation of data, and with that in mind we spoke to an investigator at the forefront of clinical research who has done trials with several of the CD20 x CD3 bispecifics in development; the insights were quite illuminating.

This post offers an update on the CD20 bispecific landscape, analysis of some of the recent data at EHA and ASCO, as well as expert opinion, what more could you ask for?

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Not in Chicago: It’s that time of the year when my inbox rapidly fills up with folks wanting to know which were selections our winners and losers from the annual ASCO meeting.

Happy or surreal days?

There are several different ways we can organise this analysis such as Top 10 selections, by company, by trials, by product, by tumour type, by disease setting etc. The first is undoubtedly easier and shorter to write, but in general it’s really hard to pick five winners and five losers to debate and some years are more mixed in any case.

At BSB we almost rarely think about oncology R&D in terms of companies, stocks, or even individual studies per se, so this leaves organising products by tumour type and subsets.

In part 1 today we are going to focus on hematology and key developments in this area. What was under-rated, over-rated and what bombed?

There are several developments which made our short list and here we cover the highs and lows as well as a pithy ratings scale at the end. Be warned, there are likely a few surprises in store…

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What stood out at AACR20?

With every cancer conference ‘attended’ – this includes the ubiquitous virtual meetings these days – I usually ask myself a couple of simple, yet key questions:

  1. Did we see any promising new targets or agents in early development emerge?
  2. Did any one talk or concept stand out from everything else?

Sometimes the answer is an emphatic ‘no!’ to both, sometimes a ‘maybe’ to either, while at other times, one thing clearly stands out head and shoulders from the rest.

At AACR20, one particular development stood out clearly for me as being novel and innovative, as well as encouraging on several fronts, so let’s take a look at what’s different about it and why a KOL we interviewed was quietly excited…

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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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