Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘AML’

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…

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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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What stood out at TCT in Orlando?

Orlando – There have been numerous useful insights into the future of next generation of CAR T cell therapies at the Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Meeting (TCT) that’s currently underway here in Florida.

TCT (formerly BMT Tandem) is the combined meeting of the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) and the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR).

It should come as no surprise that the transplant community have embraced cellular therapies.

As we start what experts such as Carl June refer to as “the decade of cell therapy,” what does the next generation of CAR T cell therapy likely look like and how will we overcome some of the challenges associated with this approach?

In this post we’re following developments in the field, and sharing what we’ve learnt so far from thought leaders at the TCT meeting. This is the latest in our recent mini-series of posts on future developments in cellular therapy.

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Stacking up the various modalities – what do we find?

It’s time to talk about an particular target in AML because there are now a variety of different modalities involved since we last covered it, which makes it rather more intriguing than most. There’s antibodies, ADCs, CAR-T cell therapies, stem cells, and various bispecifics to name a few such examples.

To be clear, we’re not talking about CD123 here either, but rather an entirely different protein that is receiving increasing attention from multiple companies.

How does the evidence stack up?  Will one particular approach stand out from all the others?

Next, perhaps what makes this post even more interesting is we have an engaging interview with one of the company CEO’s in this niche to share, so we can see how they view things from the lens of looking at things in a different way from many of the other competitors.

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The start of a New Year is a good time to take stock of where we’ve come from and where we’re going in the fast-paced world of oncology new product development.

Upregulation doesn’t always mean a protein is a valid target, but in some cases it just might…

In this latest post, we’re revisiting T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-containing protein 3 – or TIM-3 in short – and taking a closer look at the evolving competitive landscape in this niche.

One company targeting it is Novartis, who have an anti-TIM–3 antibody MBG453 in development. In this post we have an expert interview with a scientist who is a pioneer in the emerging field of TIM-3 biology.

There’s also a review of some of the recent important scientific papers on TIM-3 biology, as well as commentary on data presented at ASH19 that we expect may feature in presentations at JPM20 next week, not to mention be the focus of future interim updates should the data turn out to show some promise in certain settings.

If you have an interest in targeting novel immune checkpoints and want to find out more about where the field is at with TIM-3, then this post is for you.

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Orlando

Yesterday we looked at ten innovative approaches centred around T cell-based developments emerging from the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting that is taking place in Orlando next month.

Let’s not forget, however, that there are also other immune cells, including NK cells and quite a few others, which can be manipulated into cancer therapeutics for the treatment of hematologic malignancies.

Some of these are intriguing early preclinical research that may form next generation technologies in the future, while others take the form of up and coming early clinical data that readers may be interested to learn more about.

Here we highlight nine emerging immunotherapy approaches to consider that don’t involve T cells…

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Continuing our bispecific mini-series, we now switch from small to large biotech with a look at what Amgen are doing in this niche. They have both regular bispecifics, as well as T cell bispecifics in their early pipeline.

Our latest company interview focuses on several early phase 1 new product developments.

Aside from the BiTEs, we also discuss the clinical program with one of their most promising small molecules, AMG 510, a KRAS selective inhibitor that has been drawing much attention since the chemical structure was unveiled at AACR earlier this year.

There was much ballyhoo and yet more garish headlines in the media at ASCO regarding ‘Amgen showed it had developed a medicine that shrank tumors in 50% of lung cancer patients’ – in 10 patients. Was it really 10 people or a much higher number if we consider intent to treat amongst evaluable patients? Then of course, taking a small sample size into consideration, the next 10 might produce quite different results. We might also see resistance set in down the road (e.g. at 9 to 12 months as we have with BRAFi), so these are really very early days, something we pointed out during the daily ASCO coverage.

To be clear, I can say that both companies included in yesterday’s (Neon Therapeutics) and today’s (Amgen) articles were sensible, thoughtful, and well measured in how they handled the data rollouts, but the media frenzy that occurred with each is quite something else.

Since we had quite a few BSB readers ask about both sets of data, having discussed Neon’s yesterday, today we offer an interview with an Amgen exec at the heart of their early stage programs…

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Amsterdam – this weekend it’s time to showcase some important updates in hematology from the European Hematology Association (EHA).

It’s really hard not to like continental Europe when you see scenes like this from a major conference:

T cell lymphomas is not a topic we cover very often but it looks like it will receive attention here three times in a month with news from Corvus at ASCO and now an update on the intriguing story on CXCL12-positive AML and PTCL from Kura Oncology.

We’ve been following the latter story for a while now and after the previous looks at the rationale behind the translational data, it’s now time to explore what happens in clinical practice from their ongoing phase 2 clinical trial…

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For today’s post, we’ve curated our individual highlights from the tsunami of data that flew thick and fast yesterday between science sessions, oral presentations and poster hall gems.

There were some pleasant surprises in the mix, to be sure, plus the weather brightened up immeasurably!

Yesterday’s lunch time ASH Dash was quieter than usual

Having whittled the number of trial highlights for review and critique down to thirteen key insights and learnings, what made our joint list?

To find out more, check out the post below!

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At the recent AACR meeting in Chicago one thing that was a surprise was how many new players seem to be emrging in the CAR-T cell space, not to mention the plethora of targets being evaluated preclinically in both hematologic malignancies and solid tumours.

The CAR-T cell niche is becoming very competitive and gritty

If we thought the market was becoming competitive before with less than a dozen players, imagine how crowded it will get once many of the unknowns start to make their mark?

This situation also presents many challenges and opportunities for the new entrants, not just in terms of merely identifying new targets and preclinical research, but also in the need for quality control and manufacturing expertise plus clinical development.

We should also remember that immunotherapy is designed not to target the tumour per se but unleashes the immune system on the tumour. This means that lessons from one approach (e.g. checkpoint therapy) can be applied to another (e.g. CAR-T cell therapy) and vice versa.

Yesterday, we discussed CD123 from the perspective of a bispecific company, what about approaching the target with a CAR-T cell therapy? What other alternative targets are out that that may be useful to investigate in the clinic?

We decided to explore these issues through the lens of one of the up and coming players in the CAR-T cell niche and find out more about what they are doing, how they see things evolving in this dynamic environment and what their path to market strategy is…

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