Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘CXCL12’

“Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.”  ~ Lisa B. Adams

In the first part of the review on novel targets in hematologic malignancies, we covered five key areas in detail relating to emerging new agents around BTK, BRD, BET, and E3 ligase modulators (CELMoDs).

Continuing our look at some additional novel targets and agents in early development in hematologic malignancies, in part two of this series we explore four additional areas that piqued our interest.

These mostly involve either small molecules or monoclonal antibodies.

In the next series, we shall look at emerging immunotherapy related targets, but for now there’s plenty of targeted therapies to focus on!

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A wet gloomy day in San Francisco was brightened up by some small biotech talks

San Francisco – The other day I mentioned that we could expect some cross pollination across several recent conferences and this latest post on Kura Oncology is one such example of that genre.

We’ve been following their story longitudinally for a while now and with a lot suddenly going on, 2020 could well turn out to be an crucial year for the company.

There is no doubt they have been pursuing a very focused precision medicine approach with tipifarnib and executing nicely on that strategy so far, but as more indications and additional pipeline agents move into the clinic do the same principles still apply?

To find out, we interviewed a couple of their senior executives and discussed both current progress as well as where they are headed…

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Fall in Boston in time for TRIPLE19

Boston – It looks like being RAS week at the AACR-NCI-EORTC Triple meeting aka Targets19. Yesterday we explored the first-in-man data for the Mirati small molecule inhibitor, MRTX849, in KRASG12C mutant cancers that included lung and colon carcinomas.

In terms of aberrant activity in cancer, RAS comes in three different flavours, if you will – KRAS, NRAS, and HRAS.

After plenty of coverage of KRAS (and more yet to come!), it’s now time to turn our attention to a rather different oncogene driver and put HRAS to be in the spotlight.  Here, we offer an updated look at the progress of Kura Oncology’s tipifarnib in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (SCCHN) and assess the potential opportunity for approval in this setting.

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Amsterdam – this weekend it’s time to showcase some important updates in hematology from the European Hematology Association (EHA).

It’s really hard not to like continental Europe when you see scenes like this from a major conference:

T cell lymphomas is not a topic we cover very often but it looks like it will receive attention here three times in a month with news from Corvus at ASCO and now an update on the intriguing story on CXCL12-positive AML and PTCL from Kura Oncology.

We’ve been following the latter story for a while now and after the previous looks at the rationale behind the translational data, it’s now time to explore what happens in clinical practice from their ongoing phase 2 clinical trial…

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One of our popular series from conferences is Gems from the Poster Halls, where we take a look at some of the studies or research data that caught our attention and explain how they may have future significance. In the past, posters have lead to phase 2 or 3 trial designs and subsequent approval. Others have sadly missed signals in small studies that could have prevented an expensive phase 3 faiure. Hence, it is often important to pay attention to posters.

esmo16-poster-hall

The ESMO16 Poster Hall Maze

Posters can also give early warning for what’s developing in pipelines. The BTK inhibitor, ibrutinib, was originally codenamed CRA–032765 (at Celera) and later PCI–32765 (at Pharmacyclics), for example, while the PI3K-delta inhibitor, idelalisib started life as CAL–101 (at Calistoga). We previously followed the progress of these compounds while they were in preclinical and phase 1 and documented progress long before they became active drugs in a race to market in CLL.

My favourite codename is always going to be STI–571 (imatinib). We would start planning ASCO and ASH activities every January and September, so companies should be well in hand in their preparations for ASH and SABCS by now. There’s a tremendous amount of work involved behind the scenes in order to have a great event, and I’m not talking about the fripperies like exhibits and light boxes here.

Last year at ECCO, StemCentRx burst on the scene and were subsequently acquired at a significant premium by AbbVie, taking quite a few people by surprise.

So what can we learn about the data from ESMO this year? What new trends are emerging this time around?

Here, we take a fresh look at FOUR interesting new developments from small and large pharma/biotech companies alike in Part 2 of the Gems series. In the first one [Link], we interviewed an expert and discussed their approach to biomarkers in early small studies to help them better design larger follow-on trials more effectively.

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One of the (many) highlights for me at the recent annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was a “Meet the Expert” session presented by Professor George Coukos.

Prof George Coukos AACR 2016

Prof George Coukos AACR 2016

Professor Coukos is Director of Oncology at the University Hospital of Lausanne and Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Switzerland.

Ovarian cancer is becoming a fascinating battleground for cancer immunotherapy, with multiple challenges that must be overcome before we see improvements in outcomes, especially for women advanced disease.

The interview with Prof Coukos is a follow-on to the one we did on advanced ovarian cancer and checkpoint blockade at ECCO 2015 in Vienna with Dr Nora Disis (Link).

If you missed it, you can still listen to highlights in Episode 7 of the Novel Targets Podcast (Link).

After his AACR presentation, Prof Coukos kindly spoke with BSB and in a wide ranging discussion, highlighted some of the innovative clinical trial strategies he is working on to move the cancer immunotherapy field forward in ovarian cancer.

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