Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘AACR 2020’

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…

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

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Sadly not the #blisterwalk this year

Not in Chicago – Breast cancer has been a hot topic again on several fronts after a bit of a lull on the R&D front.

Writing about such trials across ESMO Breast, ASCO and the second AACR meeting is all very well, but what about some KOL commentary and reactions to some of the data we get to see?

If this has been a burning question for you, this is a handy article to catch up on. Of course, to be clear – not all the trials will be positive or biomarker analysis helpful, so here we tackle the issue and look at what’s what though the lens of a specialist…

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging from the ESMO Breast, ASCO and second AACR meeting, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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A saying for the ages from Albert Einstein

Oncology R&D is – perhaps surprisingly – very much like the bicycle analogy Albert Einstein described.

There are many ways we can see this happening at meetings such as AACR and ASCO as companies struggle to finesse the therapeutic window and balance efficacy with toxicity, for example.

Or how about finding creative ways to extend and broaden a particular drug class?

Another approach might be to take an entirely different angle to tackling a tumour type by targeting an antigen few others are pursuing. Just because the herd is going in one direction doesn’t mean you should follow them down the same path as well.

Then there’s switching modalities, orthosteric versus allosteric inhibitors, or how about some med chem magic where researchers seek to enhance the good properties and minimise the weaknesses while still hitting a target selectively?

All of these methods require some kind of balancing act if you want your pipeline to move forward rather remain still or fall over in the doldrums.

Today’s post has all of this and more – there are some novel compounds and targets, emerging biotechs and big pharmas, as well as innovative thinking to make a difference. Several of these agents are first-in-class, which means the rest of us can learn much from the lessons they have shared.

What’s not to like?

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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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It is becoming increasing obvious in these challenging times as the pandemic spreads globally that no corner of the earth (except perhaps the Antartica) is being left untouched.  As lockdowns begin or continue depending the phase the spread is at, this also has numerous implications for clinical trials, both academic and company funded studies alike.

Which direction should we be considering for early anti-cancer therapeutics?

One of the broader effects of the coronavirus pandemic likely means we won’t see much new data on many of the clinical trials after the currently scheduled presentations for AACR, ASCO, ESMO and ASH for a while yet, perhaps well in to 2021, which in turn is a strong reminder if we want to see how much progress is being made then we need to look at what data is available now.

I can well imagine many folks are already completely Zoomed or WebExed out from constant online meetings dealing with the implications of the pandemic on research and clinical development, as well as what happens to new and existing trials, so the idea of listening to two days of a virtual meeting on top is probably a bit daunting for the time-challenged observers amongst you.

AACR’s virtual meeting is a wonderful opportunity for smart folks to take some careful snapshots of where we are now, and how some of the early pipeline agents are shaping up.

The good news is we while your online internal meetings continue apace, we will be posting many reviews, summaries, discussion and analysis of the data here on BSB, hopefully sparing many of the additional stress in busy times. We plan to make the process of analysis and commentary relatively easy so you can follow along with us.

For reference, you can access all of our ongoing AACR20 conference coverage here. Future posts will also be added to this magazine page as they are posted.

In our fourth AACR Preview series, we take a keen look at some additional early products in development of interest, as we continue our updates on the never ending oncology R&D journey.

We highlight 10 emerging agents in early stage development to watch out for…some are new and others we previously reviewed preclinically and have moved along in their R&D journey into the clinic, with good and bad results to think about.

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging from the first annual AACR virtual meeting subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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A graceful white swan serving as an antidote the current COVID19 pandemic (black swan event)

In our the third of our AACR 2020 Preview series, we turn to the KRAS pathway to look at some new aspects, whether they be new targets, novel agents in development or even twists on the biology of the disease.

There’s quite a bit to discuss here, certainly more than I was expecting considering it was expected to be a down year by some after all the excitement of last year’s revelations and developments in the clinic!

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First in class or best in class?

Which paths will ultimately lead to success with novel targeted therapies?

Ah this question often seems a perennial one to consider at AACR annual meetings – and this year is no different in this respect.

Personally, to me, it doesn’t really matter what you claim aspirationally based on preclinical or even early phase 1 dose escalation data because… a lot can happen between then and later registrational studies.

Think about it carefully – weak efficacy, wrong tumour selection or setting, adverse event profiles, even narrow therapeutic windows can all too soon interfere and play havoc like a wrecking ball with many a well intended clinical program, especially once you start looking at combination strategies!

No, it’s not as easy as it looks sometimes.

In our latest AACR Preview series, we take a look at a number of targeted agents in development, many aimed at novel targets at are not run-of-the mill…

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And we’re off!

Rays of hope during dark days

No, no, not to the races – and certainly not to Cheltenham – but rather it’s that time of the year when the first of our annual AACR Preview series drops.  While some cancer conferences have been postponed and even cancelled, others such as AACR and ASCO are proceeding with virtual meetings, proving that even dark times can offer hints of hope.

This is good news for both young researchers and companies alike in getting data out there and shared because life goes on as time and tide wait for no man.

The actual abstracts themselves won’t be revealed until later in the month on April 27th, but for now we get a taster of this year’s truncated event since the titles available for the first virtual meeting.

Often time, this glimpse is sufficient to garner some useful clues, so what does this year hold in store for us all?

This Preview series will be in multiple parts – a review of some of the key oral sessions from the first virtual program (targeted agents, immunotherapies, cell therapies, novel targets, translational studies etc) followed by a review of the posters in the final part.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the important presentations we can expect to hear on the first day…

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging from the annual AACR meeting subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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