Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘autoimmune disease’

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.

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We’ve noticed for a while now that trials involving immunotherapies have not just standard adverse events reported, but also immune related adverse events (irAEs).  We saw these articulately in combination trials at ASCO earlier this month.

Most of these have involved colitis, hepatitis, pneumonitis and such like. If the signs and symptoms are picked up early through careful monitoring and education, these can be more easily managed and controlled.

What about auto-immune diseases?

Is there a risk of auto-immune disease with long term use usage of checkpoint blockade, especially in situations where patients may be treated until progression, which could be a long time if the patient is one of the lucky ones who get a durable complete response?

In today’s post we take a look at these issues. To learn more, subscribers can log in.

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At the 2015 European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) meeting Barcelona on Friday, Dr Stephen Hauser (UCSF) presented the data for octrelizumab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, on behalf of the investigators in the OPERA trial.  This study compared octrelizumab to a standard of care at the time the study started i.e. IFN β-1a (Rebif).

Roche previously announced that ocrelizumab is the first investigational medicine to show positive pivotal study results in both relapsing and primary progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS):

  • Ocrelizumab showed superiority to interferon beta-1a (Rebif®) in two identical Phase III studies in people with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common form of the disease.
  • Ocrelizumab is the first investigational medicine to show efficacy in people with primary progressive MS in a large Phase III study.

In addition, Dr Montalban presented the latest data for octrelizumab in primary progressive MS versus placebo (there are no approved therapies for this segment) on behalf of the ORATORIO investigators.

Here on BSB we have extensively covered other anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies such as rituximab, ofatumumab and obinutuzumab in oncology indications specifically associated with hematologic malignancies, so what’s special about this same target and the results in MS with a different chemical entity?

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