Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘CD20’

Virtual meetings mean we miss the fun of German pop-up sausage stands and focus solely on the new emerging clinical data!

EHA25 Virtual, Not-In-Frankfurt – There’s a lot of commercial interest in CD20 x CD3 bispecifics, and in this post we’re taking a look at some of the latest clinical data presented at recent ASCO and EHA virtual meetings. Companies mentioned include Regeneron, Roche/Genentech, Genmab/Abbvie, Xencor, and IGM Biosciences.

Any analysis of a rapidly evolving and fast-moving landscape only represents a snapshot in time at the point it was taken, and this post is not intended to be a comprehensive landscape report, you’d pay a lot more than a yearly sub to BSB for that, but we’ve been following the field, and there are some trends emerging.

What makes it interesting is there is some nuance required in the interpretation of data, and with that in mind we spoke to an investigator at the forefront of clinical research who has done trials with several of the CD20 x CD3 bispecifics in development; the insights were quite illuminating.

This post offers an update on the CD20 bispecific landscape, analysis of some of the recent data at EHA and ASCO, as well as expert opinion, what more could you ask for?

To read our latest expert interview, and gain insights from our oncology analysis and commentary around data emerging from the ASCO and EHA virtual meetings, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Sitges, Spain

Sitges – It’s time to explore new opportunities for cell therapy at the second edition of the European CAR T cell meeting, jointly organized by the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) and European Hematology Association (EHA) kicked off today in Sitges, just south of Barcelona.

With over 1,000 attendees, there’s a lot of interest in the cell therapy field and registrations for the meeting sold out quickly.

That’s not surprising given the impressive line-up of the good and great in the field of cell therapy including Stan Riddell, Carl June, Crystal Mackall, Michel Sadelain, and many others.

There’s also a raft of presentations on the challenges and opportunities for cell therapy, along with presentations of new and emerging approaches in the posters.

In this post you’ll find our reactions and commentary on some of the key messages and insights that emerged and takeaways from the first day at the CAR-T meeting.

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In our latest expert interview, we depart from the usual focus on one of two particular or narrow topics and indulge in a more wide ranging discussion to explore a variety of issues facing the IO field and look at them from the perspective of a researcher who is experienced in working with antibodies in various forms.

We cover a lot of ground from CAR-T cells to bispecifics to NK cells – while many people in industry may see these approaches as separate modalities in different niches, in the future we may well see a greater convergent and opportunities for regimens and combinations rather than a more nihilistic either/or approach.

I have long been fascinated with design of molecules and how different tweaks or enhancements can change the way something works – for better or worse. Just as we have learned much from immune agonists and their biphasic curves that result from constant stimulation (and ways to fix that too), so too will we see CARs, T cell engagers, and NK cell therapies adapt and improve in terms of how they are constructed.

Who better to talk about these changes and the learnings to be had lately than someone who has built and tested many antibodies for a living and is now running his own company?

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We have written about a huge variety of different approaches to cancer research since 2006 but few are as intriguing as using pathogen-based approaches involving viruses or bacteria to stimulate or re-activate the immune system. After all, when such foreign bodies break through the physical barriers and enter the bloodstream, the immune system instantly springs into action to tackle them.

Can this knowledge be used effectively in the design of anti-cancer therapeutics?

We have seen some promising initial results with oncolytic viruses, but what about bacterial based approaches?  Can a different approach to drug scaffolds yield improved results?

Here, we look through the window at a novel platform using immunotoxins in early development that may well pique a few people’s interest and offer our latest thought leader interview discussing the approach…

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What latest ASH18 data jumps to our attention?

San Diego – It’s time to put another dozen studies in the spotlight and review what we can learn from the existing data with a view on where we’re headed in the future.

Today’s list covers a whole gamut of targeted therapies, bispecific antibodies, CAR-T cell therapies and other immunotherapies, what’s more we have a range of targets in the list too, and not the obvious ones either.

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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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This morning, like many folks, I woke up to the latest immuno-oncology news on the bispecific front that Xencor, a Los Angeles based biotech, announced their latest collaboration, this time with Novartis.

Over the last few years, we have seen a surfeit of bispecifics emerge that are focused on stimulating the immune system, particularly with regard to T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, as well as antigen targets on the surface of tumours. The first one approved was Amgen’s blinatumomab (Blincyto), a CD19 targeted bispecific for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which we have written extensively about.

Xencor logoThe Xencor/Novartis deal has a number of interesting implications that are well worth exploring in more depth that go far beyond the information provided in the press release.

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Port Sunglight SpringSpring has arrived in many parts of the world, and with it I am always reminded of William Wordsworth’s classic poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud:”

I wandered lonely as a cloud 
That floats on high o’er vales and hills, 
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host, of golden daffodils; 
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

So what does the future hold for cancer immunotherapy?

Inspired by Wordsworth, I’ve sat on my cloud and have looked at some of the recent review papers and thought pieces published by experts in the field. Do they offer a Jerry Maguire – like mission statement: “The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business” or will we have to wait till AACR 2016 in New Orleans to learn more?

 

This is the latest in our pre-AACR 2016 annual meeting series. Subscribers can login to read more or you can purchase access.

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