Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘ESMO18 Munich’

Autumn leaves in Munich

We have increasingly seen how oncologists like the efficacy associated with the immune checkpoint combination of ipilimumab plus nivolumab, but are leery of the increase in side effects, including immune related events.

Are there practical ways to reduce this phenomenon, other than dose reductions?

CytomX are one company who are focused on engineering a different concept with their monoclonal antibodies, bispecifics and ADCs to try and mask the effects, thereby reducing the treatment emergent toxicities.  Their main idea is that the therapeutic window can be widened, thereby improving the tolerability profile.

It’s a nice idea, but what happens in practice?

To find out, we took a look at the recent early clinical data and interviewed executives from the company…

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There’s a lot of excitement in the field of personalised neoantigen based vaccines and cellular therapies. One of the companies leading the way in this niche is Cambridge, MA based Neon Therapeutics.

Neon Therapeutics – Open for business

At the recent European Society of Medical Oncology Congress (ESMO18) in Munich, one of the much anticipated presentations was the preliminary clinical data for Neon’s personalised neoantigen cancer vaccine (NEO-PV-1).

This was the first data for Neon’s product, as opposed to the work done by Prof Cathy Wu and colleagues that used an academic version of the cancer vaccine (NeoVax).

We heard the initial results for the NT-001 trial that began in November 2016 to explore the combination of nivolumab plus NEO-PV-1 in people with certain metastatic cancers.

In this post, we take a closer look at what the trial told us, why the data failed to impress some, and asked was their commentary fair or should we look at the results differently?

The data was presented by Dr Patrick Ott, who is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Clinical Director of the Melanoma Center and the Center for Immuno-Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He kindly spoke to BSB and offered his candid perspectives on the data presented in Munich.

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One key emerging area of growth (and importance) in cancer research is the validation, and hopefully clinical use, of more convenient and less invasive biomarker tests based on body fluids rather than tumour biopsies aka ‘liquid biopsies’.

With a glut of recent data now available from several trials, some of which might be considered controversial, and more to come in the next raft of cancer conferences, it seemed a good opportunity to take stock and see where we are, what we have learned, and importantly, where we are heading in this fledgling field.

In the BSB hot seat today we have our latest thought leader interview, where we discuss these issues and gain their perspectives on the latest round of data with blood TMB and whether it is turning out to be clinically useful or not…

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Dr Moore at ESMO18

At the recent European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO18) Congress in Munich, arguably the data of the meeting – if the audience reaction is anything to go by – were the results from the phase 3 SOLO1 trial that were presented by Dr Kathleen Moore (right).

The results were simultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine in an article entitled: “Maintenance Olaparib in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Advanced Ovarian Cancer” (Link).

As Moore and colleagues note in the abstract:

“After a median follow-up of 41 months, the risk of disease progression or death was 70% lower with olaparib than with placebo (Kaplan–Meier estimate of the rate of freedom from disease progression and from death at 3 years, 60% vs. 27%; hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.30; 95% confidence interval, 0.23 to 0.41; P < 0.001).”

Dr Moore is an Associate Professor of gynecologic oncology and the Jim and Christy Everest Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at the University of Oklahoma Stephenson Cancer Center.  She kindly spoke to BSB after her presentation in the Presidential Symposium.

In addition to Dr Moore’s personal commentary on what these results mean for women with ovarian cancer, we also have some additional insights on what this data may mean for other players in the PARP space such as Tesaro and Clovis.

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Are you building a wall… or a cathedral?

Munchen – ESMO18 has come to a close but there is still much that we can learn from many of the presentations on various new product developments in cancer research.

There’s a lot going on, particularly in early pipeline development and Developmental Therapeutics, and so now is probably a good time to sit down and look at some new trends in oncology research… with a look at some perspectives across the board.

For British readers, it could well be a case of ‘What ever happened to the likely lads,’ although in some examples, ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin’ may well be a much more apt sobriquet.

Here, we explore a range of topics and take a look at what the emerging science can tell us or offer insights into where things could be headed for future combination studies.

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Munchen – It’s been a very busy meeting at ESMO18, and not all of the data presented has portended good news for everyone. That’s inevitable in oncology, where it is routinely the case that there are more pipeline failures than successes to write about – cancer is a complex, tough and often aggressive disease.  This situation is undoubtedly not helped by over-eager enthusiasts believing data to be better than it is and being disappointed when those expectations are not met.

The early conference bird catches the worm

For those of you wanting to catch up on our highlights (and lowlights) including commentary for context, the links below will take you to the daily updates.

I will say upfront that some of the perspectives shared will be controversial, as I don’t particularly happen to agree with many armchair QBs who hastily skim abstracts and superficially dismiss developments without understanding the science or the details contained therein.

Be warned these are not short one pagers, so grab some coffee and enjoy a detailed read, as we walk people through the daily data tsunamis:

In the meantime, there’s yet more compounds and studies to review, which we will be adding to throughout the day as part of the latest live running blog…

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Welcome to Day 3 of ESMO18!

Munchen – We’re at the halfway point through the annual ESMO18 meeting already and hey ho there’s a lot of oral presentation sessions to cover today so time to grab your skates, folks!

If you need to get up to speed, here are the last two days of notes and commentary for reference:

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Early morning starts for #ESMO18

Munchen – If you haven’t checked out yesterday’s live blog post, which is packed with numerous updates and highlights from various sessions and embargoed data releases throughout the day, you can check it out here.

There’s much more in store today as the conference gets deeper into the swing of the program.

We have also been busy with expert interviews – more on those later – as well as digging out gems from the poster halls.

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Munchen – ESMO18 is finally here, sadly not at the same time as Oktoberfest!

The last time I was in Munich (for the Triple meeting in 2016 where TLRs and RIG-1 were a thing in early drug development), getting to the conference centre at Messestadt West from the Hilton was an absolute doddle – fast and efficient, as you would expect from the Germans, with only one simple change and little waiting around on chilly platforms.  Getting back in the rush hour was another matter entirely, as one was either over tired or the trains were mostly going out of town not into it, and to add insult to injury it was bitterly (freezing) cold in November.  Yes, I was on a train on the right line, but heading in the wrong direction at least once, sigh.  I blame the distorted announcements squawked in German only, apparently alerting unsuspecting punters of crucial platform changes 😉

For those of you heading to the conference centre by train/subway, look out for the red U2 line, direction Messestadt Ost at the end of the line:

En route to Messestadt Ost at the end of the red U2 line

Meanwhile, on to the crucial business matters… we usually do live running daily blogs at JPM in January and ASCO in June, where they are most popular, there’s a massive amount of news and data and thus well received.

At ESMO this year there is a tremendous amount of data to uncover, review, and discuss, so it seemed like a good opportunity to repeat the experiment, not least because there will be too much information to summarise at the end of each day, plus sleep is always a premium at cancer conferences.

This year will be jam packed with KOL interviews, trial readouts and analysis, commentary and perhaps even the occasional lighthearted whimsy… rock on!

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We’ll have “boots on the ground” for the 2018 Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (Twitter: #ESMO18) that starts out of the gate on Friday in Munich.

The Fall cancer conference season is in swing…

Our conference coverage is not only about what data we think matters, particularly in the fast-moving world of immuno-oncology, but more importantly, why it matters.

Next up in our ESMO18 Previews, we take a closer look at renal cancer, an area that received some attention in Madrid last year and is likely to receive renewed focus again.

We also include a look at the broader RCC landscape in terms of US physician prescribing habits (i.e. KOL and Community oncologists), including some trend data to explore the impact of the nivo/ipi combination and cabozantinib data, as well as excerpts from an expert interview we conducted with Dr Awny Farajallah, Head of U.S. Medical at Bristol Myers Squibb.

Finally, we also highlight some key abstracts to watch out for in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) that are expected to be presented at ESMO18 and explore their relevance.

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