Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘AACR20’

It’s the dog days of summer in August, traditionally a time when many of us go on holiday and while that’s more challenging in the uncertain times of COVID-19, we at BSB are taking a break for the next three weeks as we recharge/renew for a busy autumn of virtual meetings.

We won’t be writing much about topical news or recent data for the next few weeks, but instead, while we’re taking time out we’ve prepared a six-part mini-series looking at immunometabolism and its potential for cancer immunotherapy.  We’ve run this kind of series every summer over the last couple of years and they’ve worked out rather well.

One of the things we did on Seasons 3 and 4 of the Novel Targets Podcast was to look at topics involving emerging areas of complex research, where we often didn’t know all the answers yet there were emerging data worthy of time and attention. Immunometabolism is certainly a topic which meets those criteria – it’s been on our list to do a deeper dive into for a while and here we are now, with some extended time to make the most of the opportunity to do it some justice.

We’re obviously dating ourselves in that we used to write letters or send postcards to friends and family from our holidays, this mini-series is very much in that style.

To be clear, this is not intended to be a comprehensive review of absolutely everything in the landscape, instead we’ll be reviewing some of the key concepts, showcasing important papers, and highlighting data at AACR20 that caught our attention. There will also be mention of a few emerging biotech companies in the field and for good measure we have three interviews with scientists at the forefront of research, which may have excellent translational potential to the clinic.

By the end of our three-week journey together, hopefully you’ll gain a greater understanding of the new product development potential for cancer immunometabolism and be better placed to put into context new data as it steadily emerges over the coming months.

In this first post, let’s set the scene by looking at immunometabolism and the role it plays in the fate, function, and fitness of T cells.

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

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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…

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

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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…

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary on an emerging novel and creative CAR T cell therapy approach, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Not in San Diego: We took a close look at the potential for targeting gamma delta (𝞬𝝳) T cells early last year in an extended mini-series looking at the landscape including some of the early companies leading the way in this niche.

Since then there’s been a raft of company related announcements and collaborations in recent months, highlighting the ongoing interest in this field.

In this post, it’s time to revisit the original landscape (link), as well as explore how well some of the biotech companies who are active in this space are navigating the R&D roller coaster.

We will also be discussing recent data presented at the AACR20 virtual meetings.

So what did we learn about gamma delta T Cell therapies at AACR20 – who stands out from the increasingly crowded pack?

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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Not-in-San Diego: The second part of the 2020 virtual annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR VM2) is over, and now the fun part of looking at some of the key data presented commences.

If you listened in to some of the sessions live like BSB did then you would have heard many of the chairs say how surprised they were to have 1,200 to 1,500 or more people listening live – AACR are to be congratulated on promoting access to science from around the world.

We all miss the personal interaction of a meeting but given the high cost of attending an annual conference, a virtual meeting does promote the democratization of science, and we are all for that. Given the ongoing uncertainties around the control of Covid–19, with all the travel and large crowds involved, it remains uncertain when we’ll all feel comfortable going to major conferences again.

One presentation that caught the attention of many at AACR VM2 including ourselves was data on a novel way to target IL–18 from the lab of Dr Aaron Ring (Yale), which was presented by his postdoc, Dr Ting Zhou at the meeting. A paper was also published simultaneously in Nature last week.

We’ve been following Dr Ring’s work on IL–18 for some time so it was good to finally see it published.

As part of our ongoing AACR20 coverage, Dr Ring kindly spoke to BSB to explain how his research led to the discovery of a novel way to target IL–18 for cancer immunotherapy as well as the plans to translate this into the clinic through a spin-off company, Simcha Therapeutics.

Will this novel way of targeting IL–18 be a winner? We take a closer look in this post.

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

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It’s time for another landscape review of a particular class of drugs in early development.

Here we take an in-depth look at the emerging SERD landscape in ER+ metastatic breast cancer. There’s a lot going on the ER+HER2- niche these days after a bit of a lull once we saw the CDK4/6 inhibitors approved so it’s a good opportunity for some extended colour commentary on what could become a hot area in oncology over the next couple of years.

Overcoming or delaying the onset of therapeutic resistance is going to be important, but how do we go about achieving this?

Historically we have seen some success in inhibiting the activity of the estrogen receptor (ER) as a driver of oncogenic activity, but what if we could degrade the aberrant protein instead? Would this approach yield some further benefits for people with advanced breast cancer?

There are quite a few companies, big and small, involved in this space so there’s still much to play for, especially in terms of figuring out what the ideal drug should look like and which combinations might be most useful. We also highlight key upcoming conference presentations to watch out for – hint: there’s quite a lot of them!

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

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Time for some additional colour commentary!

There has been some incredibly intense interest surrounding TIGIT as a new therapeutic target in oncology of late, to the point where some observers have been wildly claiming this is the new universal checkpoint everyone has been waiting for.

But is it?

It’s early days yet with little data presented from people with cancer, so at this point it could well be a bit of a stretch to find another anti-PD–1/PD-L1 equivalent, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t utility in seeing clinical activity in some tumour types, far from it.

In our latest post, we take a look at what’s coming up in the TIGIT niche, along with an interview from a company active in this niche.

What do the company have to say and how do they see this panning out?

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary on a new checkpoint target called TIGIT subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is to be congratulated on turning their annual in-person meeting into a virtual meeting at short notice.

With over 60,000 registered attendees, the meeting is a success and has set the standard for others to follow this year. While we all miss the opportunity to meet and network in-person, a virtual meeting does democratize access to science for scientists and researchers who can’t afford to travel or attend every year and we hope that live-streaming will continue in 2021 and beyond.

Since the sessions are available to watch for free on demand, we’re not repeating the data but like a postcard are instead focusing on what stood out for us, adding some pertinent commentary or context, as well some of our key take homes from a cancer new product development perspective.

Whether you agree, disagree, or thought differently about the presentations, we’re here to provoke thinking and critical discussion.

In this latest postcard from AACR20, we’re focusing on highlights from the adoptive cell therapy session taking place earlier today.

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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