Making waves with new directions – there are many possible ways to go when considering targeting the adenosine axis
As we segue between our AACR and ASCO coverage, one topic that straddles both virtual meetings is targeting the adenosine axis. At AACR19, this pathway was very much front and square with some intriguing and controversial data presented, which caught many people by surprise.
Since then, several companies have opened new trials, others are completing enrollment and waiting for their data to readout before deciding upon next steps.
It’s a good time to take a look at what’s new in this niche and also see things differently through the lens of one company involved in the field. Yes, it’s time to share our latest expert interview from not one, but two, c-suite executives.
What are their perspectives (they are different), where do they see the field going and why?
In part one of the discussion we focus exclusively on adenosine targeting and how they see themselves differentiated from the crowd… it certainly makes for interesting reading!
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A biotech company we’ve been following for several years – on what has turned out to be a rollercoaster ride so far – is Corvus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CRVS).
They were pioneers in targeting the adenosine pathway with their adenosine A2A receptor antagonist, CPI–444, now known as ciforadenant.
So what’s new at Corvus? It turns out quite a lot.
At ASCO 2019, BSB caught up with Richard A Miller MD, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Corvus Pharmaceuticals to learn more about their progress and importantly, where they’re headed.
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The AACR19 ‘mosh pit’ where gems abound
It’s been a while since we looked at the adenosine pathway, where a fog of immunosuppression is thought to cloak the ability of the immune system to induce antitumour immunity.
When we first wrote about the A2A receptor-CD73-CD39 pathway in 2016 there really weren’t very many players in this niche. Since then the field has expanded quite considerably and there are now more companies and molecules to consider.
As we straddle AACR and ASCO, it’s a great time to offer an update and look at what we learned…
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National Harbor, MD – Day 2 of #SITC17 brought some interesting highlights on a number of fronts, not all of which may be apparent at present, but there are a few readouts that will have a broader impact going forward.
SITC 2017 Stars?
As we move into an era where we see more combinations evolve in immuno-onology, things are likely to get more confusing rather than less so and it could well be another 3-5 years before things truly settle down and more concrete trends emerge.
Here, we reviewed 10 different areas of interest with a strong clinical relevance and explored the topics further.
Please note that some of these will also have follow-on posts with thought leader interviews and related poster reviews.
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With the annual meeting of Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) fast approaching this week, it’s time for a look at some of the final highlights to watch out for.
In this latest conference preview, we have chosen a dozen key topics of interest that readers may find worth checking out plus an honourable mention for early compounds in development that we may well hear more about going forward.
Some of the early warning signs were offered up in the earlier Previews and with the abstracts now available, things are getting very interesting indeed…
How are things panning out so far with the abstract drop and are the new products in development living up to the hype and expectations?
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Washington DC – this is our final daily post from the 2017 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
Starting on Monday we’ll be writing up expert interviews and providing commentary and analysis around some of the sessions we went to and the data we heard.
Tuesday at AACR17 was a day when the Corvus Pharmaceuticals stock dropped 50% following presentation of preliminary clinical data for their A2A receptor antagonist CPI-444.
It’s hard not to be disappointed when you see the waterfall plots skewed to the left and above the X axis, but we really don’t have enough data yet to determine whether CPI-444 on it’s own or in combination with atezolizumab may offer benefit to some cancer patients and if so, which ones.
The company have expanded the renal (RCC) and lung cohorts (NSCLC) in their initial trial, and they’ve told us to expect more data at ASCO17 in a few weeks time. Small cap biotech stocks can be a roller coaster when it comes to data presentations at major medical/scientific meetings.
What else caught our attention in the sessions we attended on Tuesday at #AACR17?
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At the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (#SABCS16) one of the mini-symposia that caught my attention was on “Harnessing the Immune System in Breast Cancer.”
A line-up of top researchers and clinicians shared the latest on breast cancer immunotherapy:
- Laurence Zitvogel MD PhD (Gustave Roussy), “From Breast Cancer Surveillance to Immunotherapy”
- Leisha Emens MD PhD (Johns Hopkins), “Breast Cancer Immunotherapy: Building on Clinical Success”
- Andy Minn MD PhD (Univ of Pennsylvania): “Identification of Resistance Mechanisms to Checkpoint Blockade for Cancer”
Dr Laurence Zitvogel at SABCS16
Readers of the blog will recall we last spoke with Dr Emens at the AACR 2015 annual meeting (is it really that long ago?!) where she presented the first data for the PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab in Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). See post: “Checkpoint data rocks AACR 2015.”
You can also hear Dr Emens talk about the data on Episode 1 of the Novel Targets Podcast.
What’s new in breast cancer immunotherapy and how have things advanced since then?
At SABCS16, we heard about a novel immunotherapy strategy targeting adenosine in breast cancer, and the trial with an adenonsine antagonist, CPI-444 (Corvus Pharmaceuticals, NASDAQ: CRVS) that’s now underway.
Last September, Corvus senior scientist Stephen Willingham, PhD and Chief Business Officer, Jason Coloma, PhD spoke to BSB about the data they were presenting at the 2016 CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR Cancer Immunotherapy Conference in New York. See post: “Corvus moves fast to target the tumor microenvironment and improve checkpoint responses.”
Corvus had a presentation at the 2017 JP Morgan Healthcare conference (#JPM17) yesterday, and we’ve included some additional commentary on that in this post.
After the SABCS16 cancer immunotherapy mini-symposium, Dr Leisha Emens, Associate Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, kindly spoke to BSB.
Dr Leisha Emens at SABCS16
She’s one of the rock stars of breast cancer immunotherapy, and it was truly a pleasure to catch up with her again in San Antonio.
This is the second in our series of expert interviews from #SABCS16. In case you missed the prior posts and want to bookmark for the upcoming ones, you will find them on the conference page (Link).
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New York – at the CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR international cancer immunotherapy conference (Twitter #CICON16) that’s currently underway, one of the plenary oral presentations and posters that attracted my attention was for CPI-444, a small molecule inhibitor of the adenosine 2 A receptor (A2AR). It is in development by Corvus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CRVS).
Stephen Willingham, PhD a Senior Scientist at Corvus presented data yesterday on CPI-444, “A potent & selective inhibitor of the A2AR that induces antitumor responses alone and in combination with anti PD-L1 in preclinical and biomarker studies.”
Corvus announced a collaboration with Genentech back in October 2015. A phase 1 trial with CPI-444 alone and in combination with Genentech’s anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab (Tecentriq) is now underway.
Targeting the tumor microenvironment to lower the immunosuppressive adenosine and improve checkpoint point effectiveness could be a big win for both Corvus and Genentech if CPI-444 is able to significantly improve the response rates to atezolizumab.
Corvus Senior Scientist Stephen Willingham, PhD and Chief Business Officer Jason Coloma, PhD kindly spoke to BSB about what the data presented in New York means and the company’s clinical development strategy.
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While in Marseille for the scientific meeting to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML), I had the pleasure to interview Hervé Brailly PhD, the CEO of Innate Pharma, a leading biotech company in the Marseille Immunopôle.
Innate Pharma (@InnatePharma) was founded in 1999 by six immunologists: Hervé Brailly, Eric Vivier, Marc Bonneville, Alessandro Moretta, Jean-Jacques Fournié and Francois Romagné.
Yesterday’s blog post on “Why Target the Innate Immune System? An interview with Eric Vivier” sets the scene for today’s post.
Innate Pharma, as the name suggests, has pioneered targeting the innate immune system. The company has leveraged the research undertaken at CIML by Professor Vivier and others in the field of innate immunity.
Innate is leading the way in immuno-oncology by targeting checkpoint receptors on natural killer (NK) cells. In 2011 Innate signed a licensing deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development and potential commercialization of lirilumab.
In a recent financial report (link to Sept 8 press release) the company announced that several clinical trials would read-out in the forthcoming months.
Without disclosing any material non-public information, Dr Brailly kindly spoke with BSB and talked about his vision for Innate, what data readouts we are expecting, and the inflexion point the company is now at.
This post was updated on Feb 6, 2017 with the announcement that the EFFIKIR AML trial failed to meet it’s primary endpoint.
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