January is inevitably a month where several worlds collide for us.
There might be initial data from SITC and solid data from ASH that bears the advantage of showcasing in the context of corporate presentations at JPM or company announcements of competitor trial progress.
That’s very much the case today.
Earlier this month, Incyte announced the phase 3 trial miss for their JAK1 inhibitor in acute graft versus host disease (GVHD), perhaps coming as a surprise to a few observers familiar with the positive ruxolitinib result, but not so much to clinicians.
In the latter case, one transplanter in the itacitinib study told me at ASCO that he hadn’t noticed any difference between the steroid only and steroid plus itacitinib arms in his SCT patients. Although admittedly that was a small sample of the whole, it did make me wonder if the trend was repeated then it wouldn’t augur well for the overall readout expected year end. Come January, his observation turned out to be rather prescient.
Incyte are presenting on the JPM20 slate in San Francisco today and we’ll be keen to learn if they have anything to add beyond the terse Jan 2nd announcement on the itacitinib miss.
More importantly though, there are still plenty of other agents in development are being investigated for the treatment of acute GVHD, one of which from Alpine Immune Sciences in Seattle we are particularly enthused about following discussions at the recent ASH meeting last month.
In our latest expert interview, we learn more about that development and explore the context for the evolution of a novel molecule likely not on many people’s radar. If the results turn out to be encouraging that situation could well change in the future.
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With various acquisititions occurring in the wake of #JPM18 plus CAR T cell therapy being back in the news this morning following the proposed Juno acquisition by Celgene following on from the recent Kite/Gilead deal, not to mention some recent publications on the role of checkpoints in enhancing the technology, I wanted to explore a related area:
It’s time to talk about ICOS…
Before you think I’ve gone completely over to the dark side talking about blockchains, rest assured that we do not refer here to Initial Coin Offerings i.e. an unregulated means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture, but rather to an inducible co-stimulator of T cells that is structurally and functionally related to CD28.
In short, it’s an immune stimulatory rather than inhibitory checkpoint target that is gaining attention of late and is something we are likely to hear a lot more about over the near term.
Related to this is highlighting up and coming biotechs in the IO space who are exploring novel targets beyond the obvious anti-PD(L)1 focus since we need to see what might happen with IO-IO combinations as a way to improve responses and outcomes such that more people with cancer can receive benefit from immunotherapy.
Here, we offer a look at a biotech active in this space to learn what their approach is and where their pipeline is going in the near to medium term future.
To learn more and get a heads up on our latest company interview, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.