Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged 𔃱L NSCLC’

Barcelona – It seems only in only four years we have gone from discussing the phase 1 osimertinib data in EGFRm lung cancer with one Boston expert to reviewing the survival data from the phase 3 study with another expert from the same city… how time flies!

Today was a crazy day with multiple different embargoes lifting at different times so to make things simpler we carved out three different tracks to make it easier for readers to focus and follow the stories they are most interested in.

The KRASG12C clinical trial readouts continue apace with a look at the new non-lung cancer data. That post already went live at 1.30am ET if you’re looking for that evolving story.  The main highlights post with a daily running live blog and multiple updates throughout the day can be found here.

Meanwhile this particular post will contain everything related to osimertinib and the FLAURA trial, as well as where we are on uncovering resistance mechanisms. To get started we have a new press release to look at as well as some independent expert commentary to put the data in context.

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AstraZeneca miss on OS in the phase 3 MYSTIC trial – what next?

Getting there… in 1L NSCLC

At one point we were posting almost quarterly updates on the runners and riders in the 1L NSCLC niche and what a roller coaster it has turned out to be!

There have been some successes, failures, and even mixed results so far, suggesting that there’s no room for complacency here.

Previously, AstraZeneca were the first to readout out on PFS in the MYSTIC trial and missed, meaning they had to go to the back of the queue and patiently await the OS data. Since then, we’ve seen several phase 3 trials from Merck, Genentech/Roche and BMS all readout without any real rhyme, reason or consistency between them.

Now AstraZeneca are back in the spotlight with a not altogether unexpected miss on median OS.

It’s easy for people to kick a dog when it’s down rather than take a moment to reflect on the deeper meaning – what does the result mean both for the company and other key players in this highly competitive landscape? What can we learn from this experience and other recent results?

To answer that, we put some insights and analysis together in our latest update on the space…

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At AACR last week we had the long awaited initial readouts for three key phase 3 studies in lung cancer, namely CheckMate–227, IMpower150, and KEYNOTE–189 in the same session on the same day.

This had me thinking about how it might end up being, “a killer and a chiller and a thriller when I get the (PD–1) gorilla in Manila,” with sincere apologies to Muhammed Ali and Dr Jean-Charles Soria for (mis)appropriating their past themes 😉

Chicago River Bridge at #AACR18

For those attending the event, you might well be forgiven for thinking from the first two adjectives that I’m referring to the weather, as it was certainly cold enough (!), or even the results this week from AstraZeneca’s unfortunately named ARCTIC study exploring the IO-IO combo of durvalumab plus tremelimumab in the third line setting with a miss in both PFS and OS endpoints.

In reality, we should be warmed and heartened to see three positive immunotheraopy trials appear at once and presented in the same session at the same meeting.  It isn’t always the case as regular attendees at ASCO well know.

When all is said and done, what do thought leaders specialising in lung cancer really think about the data that was presented in Chicago, and what were the convergence and discord on the various key issues under consideration?  There is, after all, a lot of subtlety and nuance to consider in 1L NSCLC.

To find out more, we interviewed not one, but four, lung cancer specialists in Chicago for their personal perspectives.  What they had to say as a group was both candid and absolutely fascinating, so it made sense to curate their insights around various key topics together into one detailed post for easy reading… 

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After yesterday’s notes on the exciting lung cancer clinical trials plenary, I received a bunch of questions from readers following yesterday’s analysis of the 1L NSCLC market.

This is a good opportunity to take some time out to answer some of them, as they highlight some important points worth discussing, clarifying and reviewing.

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Things are heating up rapidly in the 1L non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) space with the latest news that Merck’s pembrolizumab beat out chemotherapy as monotherapy in previously untreated stage 4 patients in KEYNOTE-042.

Is the path to success is a rocky road for some companies in 1L NSCLC?

BMS’s trial in this setting, CheckMate-026, previously failed to show any benefit for nivolumab over chemotherapy, so what gives?

There is no doubt that Merck have been on a roll in lung cancer of late with nary a false step with pembrolizumab thus far.  Is that down to luck or careful preparation?  Are there differences in the molecules or trial designs?

Here, we take a look at the two situations and continue our ongoing analysis as these results certainly offer a ‘tale of two cities’ perspective in the same indication.

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At ESMO IO last Fall, Genentech/Roche were first past the post in 1L non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with data from their phase 3 study in non-squamous patients evaluating the combination of chemotherapy and bevacizumab plus atezolizumab versus chemotherapy alone.

The 1L NSCLC race continues apace…

Since then, there has been much anticipatory excitement for BMS and Merck’s phase 3 trials, CheckMate-227 and KEYNOTE189, respectively.  These data will be now presented at the annual meeting of AACR in Chicago next month.

In the meantime, there are also the overall survival data expected soon from AstraZeneca’s MYSTIC trial – will it be positive despite a PFS miss?

Later this year, the company have another study (NEPTUNE) result expected that explores the combination of durvalumab plus tremelimumab versus platinum-based standard chemotherapy in first line treatment of patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) wild-type advanced or metastatic NSCLC.  This has been a controversial area for IO studies to date and the story here may well be more subtle and complex than many realise.

Next year we can also expect to see more readouts from Pfizer/EMD Serono’s JAVELIN LUNG 100 (avelumab) in both squamous and non-squamous histologies, while AstraZeneca’s POSEIDON study is in squamous patients only.

Just this week, Genentech again announced their phase 3 squamous NSCLC trial readout with positive PFS in favour of the combination of chemotherapy plus atezolizumab versus chemotherapy alone.  The BMS CheckMate-227 study included both sets of histologies and no details were provided in the announcement, so hopefully this data will be available at AACR.

In Pharmaland we hear much noise around First-in-Class and Best-in-Class claims but, ultimately, it will all come down to data.  In oncology, it always does.

In our latest review post, we take a look at both squamous and non-squamous settings and what we learn from the latest available information.  Surprisingly, it’s quite a lot and there are important nuances to consider as well…

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Geneva: At the ESMO IO 2017 conference underway in Geneva, the data of the meeting is the IMpower150 phase 3 trial data that will be presented later today by Dr Martin Reck (Grosshandsdorf).

Genentech/Roche have announced a press release ahead of the presentation (Link).

This is the first phase 3 lung cancer immunotherapy trial that combines a VEGF inhibitor (bevacizumab/Avastin), along with a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor (atezolizumab/Tecentriq) together with chemotherapy (carboplatin plus paclitaxel).

While we’ve not seen the actual data curves yet, we spoke to Dr Dan Chen (Genentech) about what we can expect to see later today in Geneva, and importantly, we also discussed the significance of the findings from the IMpower150 study.

As Dr Chen told BSB, “this trial is a lot of firsts.”

If you have an interest in lung cancer or immunotherapy, do follow #ESMOImmuno17 on Twitter, as this is data could potentially be practice changing and have a major impact on the lung cancer treatment landscape.

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With so much data to cover recently, we haven’t have time for a perennial favourite, the monthly mailbag to answer BSB reader Q&A on hot oncology topics.

October has brought out quite a lot of controversy to consider, most of it happening in the last week!

Here, we consider questions on Immune Design’s phase 3 trial with their NY-ESO-1 vaccine, CMB305, which attracted both a lot of market attention and also questions from readers.

We also review a bunch of questions relating to 1L NSCLC and the upcoming readouts.  This niche is probably potentially one of the most competitive spaces in oncology R&D at present and readers seem almost insatiable for information on this topic.

It is quite a turnaround considering the last decade of numerous failed trials or even non-inferiority studies that were being conducted.

Like many readers, I can well remember sitting in freezing cold, half empty halls wondering if the latest chemo or targeted therapy doublet was going to offer a mere 2-3 months improvement in PFS and no OS benefit or not.  It was that binary and also depressing.

With the possibilities offered by immune checkpoint blockade, in a short space of time 1L NSCLC has gone from graveyard to uber intense with several companies vying to demonstrate improvements in overall survival by 6 months or more.

There’s a lot more to come here and not all of the lung trials will be positive – that’s expecting too much against the game of chance.  Here, we look at numerous factors that could make a difference, both positive and negative.

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Periodically, we post an analysis and look at a particular landscape and the leading competitors within. One area of rather intense interest that we have been following is the progress (or march might be more precise) of checkpoint blockade in previously untreated metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (1L NSCLC).

Our extensive reviews and discussions in this area have included a look at:

In addition, I last posted my recent predictions on this space in July this year and already quite a bit has happened since then!

With a bunch of other phase 3 trial readouts coming up over the next couple of months, it’s now time for another update on what to watch out for, what to expect and why some studies can be handicapped differently.

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