New Orleans – the hematology diehards were up early yesterday for the 7.30 am oral session on some of the most interesting data at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) on potential new treatments for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).
Just to make sure everyone’s Fitbits were well exercised, the organizers put the session in the farthest end of the Convention center! Like many of the CLL sessions, it was a full house with multiple financial analysts sitting in the row behind me taking copious notes and pictures. Unlike at ASCO, there is no virtual meeting, so you can’t replay any of the oral scientific sessions at a later date. If you didn’t see it, you missed it! There’s no substitute for boots on the ground.
What this post is about is my subjective opinion and top-line impressions of the information presented and some of the key strategic issues and challenges that came across listening to a full presentation of the latest data. I’m not going to rehash the press releases and the abstract data, most readers have already assimilated that.
It is what it says — notes from the road — the kind of things I’d write in a trip report if I were in a company.
The four presentations covered in this post are:
Abstract 871: Dinaciclib (SCH 727965) Is a Novel Cyclin-Dependent Kinase (CDK) Inhibitor That Exhibits Activity In Patients With Relapsed Or Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).
Abstract 872: Bcl-2 Inhibitor ABT-199 (GDC-0199) Monotherapy Shows Anti-Tumor Activity Including Complete Remissions In High-Risk Relapsed/Refractory (R/R) Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL).
Abstract 873: Randomized, Phase II Dose Optimization Study Of Chimeric Antigen Receptor Modified T Cells Directed Against CD19 (CTL019) In Patients With Relapsed, Refractory CLL.
Abstract 874: Phase I Trial Of Autologous CD19-Targeted CAR-Modified T Cells As Consolidation After Purine Analog-Based First-Line Therapy In Patients With Previously Untreated CLL.
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved Roche/Genentech’s obinutuzumab (Gazyva), also known as GA101, for untreated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) in combination with the chemotherapy chlorambucil. Updated CLL11 trial data will be presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (twitter #ASH13) in New Orleans from December 7-10. Gazyva is the first drug with a Breakthrough Therapy Designation to be approved by the FDA.
“Gazyva is an important new medicine for people with newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia as it more than doubled the time a person lived without their disease worsening compared to chlorambucil alone,” said Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development in a press release this morning.
Blog readers who attended the Roche analyst event in Chicago during the ASCO annual meeting in June will have noted that Roche’s long-term corporate strategy is focused on combining cancer drugs to improve treatment outcomes; a theme echoed by Charles Sawyers, President of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) during his ASCO Science of Oncology award lecture on “Overcoming Resistance to Cancer Drug Therapy“.
One of the combinations that Roche COO Daniel O’Day highlighted in the analyst event at ASCO was obinutuzumab/GA101 (Gazyva) with GDC-0199 (ABT-199) for the treatment of B-cell hematological malignancies such as CLL & non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Obinutuzumab is a glyco-engineered CD20 antibody, while GDC-0199 is a Bcl-2 inhibitor. Both cause apoptosis (cell death) through complementary mechanisms of action.
An abstract on the preclinical data for this combination will be presented at the ASH annual meeting in New Orleans. A phase 1 clinical trial in CLL with this combination is currently underway and recruiting patients (NCT01685892).
I had the great pleasure at the recent AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics meeting in Boston to talk with Deepak Sampath, PhD the leader of Genentech’s Bcl-2 preclinical research about the rational for the obinutuzumab plus GDC-0199 combination.
In this SoundCloud, Dr Sampath introduces himself and what his lab does at Genentech:
What he said during the interview makes for interesting reading, and suggests this combo could have blockbuster potential!
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