Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘DANUBE’

One thing I really miss from attending live conferences – aside from catching up with people in person – is “the living like a local” experience. Last time I was in Madrid, for example, there was this fishmonger (pescaderia) just a block down from the rented apartment. They were only open in the mornings, so you could dash down the hill, quickly nab some fresh produce, refrigerate it and have something nice to look forward to for dinner with a glass of wine at the end of a tiring day while writing up the highlights…

The image also offers another analogy – do some data presented at a meeting end up, well, a bit fishy on closer examination or reflection despite much of the hype enthused or extolled by others?

At the ESMO20 virtual Congress, we covered a tremendous amount of details from the data during both the daily highlights as well as the previews exploring what to watch out in the run-up to the event.  You can find all those reviews here.

There are always some surprises in store, however, both good and bad.  There’s also layers of obfuscation going on to consider in the form of cheerleading from companies, investigators, or stock holders, which may add positive spin on what is essentially so-so data, cases where great data goes largely ignored for whatever reason, or important lessons to be learned from failure.

In this wrap-up post, we take a sharp look at the ESMO20 winners, losers, and risers from a contrarian’s perspective…

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Not in Madrid: Unlike the Tour de France, which finishes with the peloton procession in Paris today, we’re not yet at the ESMO20 finish line and there’s plenty of the data at Congress yet to come.

Macarons anyone?

As you can see, we’re hoping ESMO21 will actually take place in Paris next year, but it’s definitely too early to make travel plans the way COVID-19 infection rates are increasing in Europe.

If we think of cancer drugs as like macarons that come in many versions – which ones do you like at #ESMO20 so far? There are are also subtle gradations in colour and flavour, reflective of a few trial differences to consider.

In this latest post we’re continuing our coverage of highlights from Saturday at ESMO20 with the second part of our commentary and analysis around some of the oral presentations involving numerous solid tumours, excluding breast cancer (see separate highlights of the day post), which caught our attention.

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One of the exciting developments in metastatic urothelial carcers of late has been the emergence of checkpoint blockade with some very encouraging signs of durable clinical activity. Urothelial cancers comprise a group of urinary tract tumours including bladder, penile, ureter etc, although most trials tend to enroll bladder cancer patients, where there is a high unmet medical need.

Chicago John Hancock Center View

View from the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, Chicago

This year alone has seen the FDA grant AstraZeneca with breakthrough therapy designation for durvalumab in February, while Genentech/Roche subsequently received approval for atezolizumab (Tecentriq) based on phase 2 data on May 18th.

To put these developments in context, the last FDA approval in metastatic urothelial carcinoma was almost 4 decades ago in 1978 for the chemotherapy cisplatin!

As is often the case in Pharmaland, once one company starts exploring a therapy in a given tumour type, others will quickly follow. Already we have several immunotherapy agents being evaluated in urothelial carcinoma both in early and metastatic disease, so what can we learn from the data presented at ASCO last week and where is the landscape going in the future?

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