Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘Adenosine Pathway’

Some of the upcoming coming small biotechs caught our attention and may turn out to be future stars

National Harbor – There were quite a few gems in the poster halls and oral presentations from up and coming small cap biotechs at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting this year.

Who were they and what did we learn from them?

In the latest part of our latest SITC coverage we highlight 13 presentations – 11 from small biotechs and 2 academic abstracts – that caught our attention, explain what’s intriguing about them and why they matter.

There’s not a single big Pharma included (unless as a reference point or given in combination) since the focus is mainly on up and coming companies with their novel approaches.

The list is quite selective and not at all random from a list of over 850 abstracts.

So what stood out and what was special about them?

Some of the selections are likely hidden sleepers that few will be familiar with… they also cover a wide range of approaches, targets, different modalities and even strategic intent.

Even if you were at the SITC 2019 meeting, increasingly there were more business meetings taking up valuable time than sessions attended, so this is a great way to catch all the highlights for your trip report 😉

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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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One thing that often comes up is why don’t all inflamed tumours respond to immune checkpoint blockade or immunotherapy – it is that PD-L1 is a weak biomarker of response or are there factors that can explain the phenomenon?

ASCO 2011 #BlisterWalk

The ASCO #blisterwalk

Some new research now sheds some light on the issue.

This seemed to be a great opportunity to explore several topics around this theme and look at what the data from AACR and ASCO are potentially telling us.

Obviously we need to see the presentations in Chicago to be sure, but the good thing is that there are some good hints of where to start and what to think about going forward since they could have an impact on clinical trial design.

With a lot of observers focused on some disappointing results from, for example, Incyte’s epacadostat (IDO) and Jounce’s ICOS antibody, are there things we can do to improve the chances of success?

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New York – at the CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR international cancer immunotherapy conference (Twitter #CICON16) that’s currently underway, one of the plenary oral presentations and posters that attracted my attention was for CPI-444, a small molecule inhibitor of the adenosine 2 A receptor (A2AR). It is in development by Corvus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CRVS).

Corvus Pharmaceuticals Logo

Stephen Willingham, PhD a Senior Scientist at Corvus presented data yesterday on CPI-444, “A potent & selective inhibitor of the A2AR that induces antitumor responses alone and in combination with anti PD-L1 in preclinical and biomarker studies.”  

Corvus announced a collaboration with Genentech back in October 2015. A phase 1 trial with CPI-444 alone and in combination with Genentech’s anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab (Tecentriq) is now underway.

Targeting the tumor microenvironment to lower the immunosuppressive adenosine and improve checkpoint point effectiveness could be a big win for both Corvus and Genentech if CPI-444 is able to significantly improve the response rates to atezolizumab.

Corvus Senior Scientist Stephen Willingham, PhD and Chief Business Officer Jason Coloma, PhD kindly spoke to BSB about what the data presented in New York means and the company’s clinical development strategy.

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