It is becoming increasing obvious in these challenging times as the pandemic spreads globally that no corner of the earth (except perhaps the Antartica) is being left untouched. As lockdowns begin or continue depending the phase the spread is at, this also has numerous implications for clinical trials, both academic and company funded studies alike.
Which direction should we be considering for early anti-cancer therapeutics?
One of the broader effects of the coronavirus pandemic likely means we won’t see much new data on many of the clinical trials after the currently scheduled presentations for AACR, ASCO, ESMO and ASH for a while yet, perhaps well in to 2021, which in turn is a strong reminder if we want to see how much progress is being made then we need to look at what data is available now.
I can well imagine many folks are already completely Zoomed or WebExed out from constant online meetings dealing with the implications of the pandemic on research and clinical development, as well as what happens to new and existing trials, so the idea of listening to two days of a virtual meeting on top is probably a bit daunting for the time-challenged observers amongst you.
AACR’s virtual meeting is a wonderful opportunity for smart folks to take some careful snapshots of where we are now, and how some of the early pipeline agents are shaping up.
The good news is we while your online internal meetings continue apace, we will be posting many reviews, summaries, discussion and analysis of the data here on BSB, hopefully sparing many of the additional stress in busy times. We plan to make the process of analysis and commentary relatively easy so you can follow along with us.
For reference, you can access all of our ongoing AACR20 conference coverage here. Future posts will also be added to this magazine page as they are posted.
In our fourth AACR Preview series, we take a keen look at some additional early products in development of interest, as we continue our updates on the never ending oncology R&D journey.
We highlight 10 emerging agents in early stage development to watch out for…some are new and others we previously reviewed preclinically and have moved along in their R&D journey into the clinic, with good and bad results to think about.
To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging from the first annual AACR virtual meeting subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.
Some of the upcoming coming small biotechs caught our attention and may turn out to be future stars
National Harbor – There were quite a few gems in the poster halls and oral presentations from up and coming small cap biotechs at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting this year.
Who were they and what did we learn from them?
In the latest part of our latest SITC coverage we highlight 13 presentations – 11 from small biotechs and 2 academic abstracts – that caught our attention, explain what’s intriguing about them and why they matter.
There’s not a single big Pharma included (unless as a reference point or given in combination) since the focus is mainly on up and coming companies with their novel approaches.
The list is quite selective and not at all random from a list of over 850 abstracts.
So what stood out and what was special about them?
Some of the selections are likely hidden sleepers that few will be familiar with… they also cover a wide range of approaches, targets, different modalities and even strategic intent.
Even if you were at the SITC 2019 meeting, increasingly there were more business meetings taking up valuable time than sessions attended, so this is a great way to catch all the highlights for your trip report 😉
To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on our latest insights from the SITC annual meeting, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.
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’re overdue a roundup and discussion on various key topics of interest to BSB readers, so here goes…
Today’s topics include an in-depth look at the impact of some negative events:
- Kite and the cerebral oedema death with axi-cel
- Genentech’s atezolizumab OS miss in urothelial cancer
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Hans Bishop, Juno
After a rocky 2016 for Juno with JCAR015 and the trial that imploded unexpectedly and badly, the CEO Hans Bishop quietly announced that announced that ROCKET has been abandoned:
“2016 was a year of progress and learning for Juno and the cancer immunotherapy field. We continue to experience encouraging signs of clinical benefit in our trial addressing NHL, but we also recognize the unfortunate and unexpected toxicity we saw in our trial addressing ALL with JCAR015. We have decided not to move forward with the ROCKET trial or JCAR015 at this time.”
A strange year of hubris attracting nemesis might be another way of describing the events for some observers.
We covered the Juno roller coaster and events in July and December 2016 for those who want to catch up on the full history of this unfortunate and ongoing debacle:
Where does the latest Juno news leave things and what can we expect going forward?
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After regularly reporting here at BSB on several readouts in terms of antibodies and CARs since ASH last year, it’s reasonable to conclude now that there has been growing interest in BCMA–APRIL as a target in multiple myeloma (MM). The CAR T cell therapies have generally focused on BCMA or BCMA-TACI as a target, while antibody approaches such as Aduro’s, BION–1301, target APRIL.
T cells attacking a cancer cell
These new therapies have all been either preclinical in nature or preliminary phase 1 studies in a very limited number of patients, meaning that the best we can characterise them is that old reliable chestnut, ‘promising but early’… to do otherwise would be rather extravagant and hopeful at best.
Given the data from several CAR T cell therapy studies were being presented at two meetings on two separate continents only a few days apart, it makes sense to review them as a whole.
It’s therefore time for a detailed update, including a review of the differences in the key studies, a look at where we are now, as well as tips on what to look for going forward.
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