Downtown San Francisco
San Francisco — Amongst all the chaos and frenetic activity that abounds big Pharma at JPM each year, I always look forward to hearing what the smaller biotechs are up to on days 3 and 4, as well as seeing how far some of them have progressed since our previous update on their pipeline agents.
In this latest update, there are definitely some companies we have been following longitudinally who are either poised for future success and growth… or due for a correction if the promising science doesn’t pan out as expected in the clinic.
Indeed one of those companies has already hit success and disappointment in the last two months alone, such is the roller coaster that is oncology R&D.
Please note that this is a rolling blog, which means that numerous updates are added throughout the day as new information becomes available.
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Times Square, New York
New York – Every now and then you go to a cancer conference and instead of hearing the expected standard talk that is repeated time and time again for a season or so, you are delighted with a more engaging and uninhibited approach that captivates and informs on the latest state of the art progress.
It also means that more than the presenter realises is perhaps shared. That’s very good news indeed for intrepid science writers and anyone who cares to listen or read.
The research mentioned in today’s post falls in the engaged and delighted category…
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One of the pioneers and leading entrepreneurs in the development of personalised cancer vaccines is Professor Ugur Sahin.
In addition to being CEO of the privately-held biopharmaceutical company, BioNTech, he holds an academic appointment at the University of Mainz and is Managing Director of the translational research institute TRON.
This makes Mainz the perfect location for a cancer immunotherapy conference. It’s also where the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) is located. They were the local organisers of the 3rd annual CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR cancer immunotherapy conference that we recently attended along with over 1400 people from around the world.
One of the underlying themes of the meeting and the posters was the development of personalised cancer vaccines, which is why we’re doing an extended mini-series based on interviews we did in Germany with leaders in the field.
Prof Sahin is a busy man, but we tracked him down in the poster hall. Here’s a brief excerpt from the impromptu interview he kindly gave to BSB.
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Dr Ira Mellman is a leading cancer researcher, familiar to many in cancer immunotherapy for his work on the Cancer-Immunity Cycle and Cancer-Immune Set-Point with Dr Dan Chen.
Prior to joining Genentech, he spent 20 years as a faculty member at Yale, publishing extensive research on dendritic cells.
River Rhine, Mainz
Last year, Genentech announced a strategic collaboration with Mainz based BioNTech in Germany to develop and manufacture personalized mRNA based cancer vaccines.
At the recent CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR cancer international cancer immunotherapy conference in Mainz, Dr Mellman kindly spoke to BSB about the underlying biology/immunology, the rationale behind the BioNTech collaboration, and his vision on where he sees the potential for therapeutic cancer vaccines going forward.
This is the second post in our series on the Future of Cancer Vaccines.
Here’s a snippet of the interview with Dr Mellman to get you warmed up…
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La Tour Eiffel par nuit
Paris, France: It’s the dog days of summer and my reading stack of interesting science and cancer research papers is particularly high at the moment despite reading voraciously over the last few weeks…
So much excellent research keeps on piling up as fast as one can get through it.
It’s beginning to feel like Ravel’s Bolero…
Still, there’s one particular batch of important papers that draws together some interesting findings in an area we have been following for a little while now and these data most certainly advance the field in more ways than one.
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It’s that time of the month where the BSB readers get their chance to put us on the hot spot!
Here, we take a look at reader questions that have been submitted and argue the toss – is there evidence preclinically or clinically that is useful or instructive?
We can’t promise to answer every question, sometimes there simply isn’t any data to help either way.
This week, the topic is CAR T cell therapies, a subject that seems to be very high on many people’s minds and many of you had similar questions, so here goes…
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