Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘gene editing’

ASGCT Virtual: We are thoroughly enjoying the “live” annual meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT).

Unlike other virtual meetings that have recorded presentations, ASGCT are running a live format, with presenters giving their talks in real-time from wherever in the world they may be. By and large this has worked well, and it definitely felt as though you were at the meeting.

We are also enjoying the ePoster hall, and in particular, the short audio tour that many presenters have made to take you through their poster. Obviously, it’s not a substitute for in-person contact, but who would want to be in a crowded poster hall or meeting room in these uncertain times with the potential for the coronavirus lurking about?

Earlier today we “attended” a virtual ASGCT20 scientific session with oral presentations organized by the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) on Engineering Immunity.

Four speakers focused on CAR T cell therapy in non-B cell malignancies – what did we learn?  It turns out the answer was quite a bit!

To find out more about our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging from the ASGCT meeting, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Time to unlock some novel IO targets?

Continuing our latest four part mini-series, this one is on novel targets and agents and we now turn our attention to immuno-oncology in the last two articles pertaining to this particular topic.

You can read the first two articles on targeted therapies here and here.

For the avoidance of any doubt, this latest review is not about T cells, far from it.

Instead we cover six different areas, most of which are related or integrated in some shape of form.

There’s a lot of promising new science now coming out to help us better understand the underlying biology and also think out of the box about ways to enhance or improve on existing research.

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Unlike last year, rain in San Francisco wasn’t a feature in 2019

If there’s anyone who hasn’t got fed up looking for somewhere to sit and chat or have a meeting in San Francisco at the 2019 JP Morgan Healthcare conference this week, then don’t be surprised…

With meeting space continually at a premium and many attendees unwilling to pay exhorbitant table rental prices, you now see people resorting to the lobby steps at the Sir Francis Drake, while the ladies have the advantage over the gents of access to the powder room in the Westin (with plugs!)

There’s also a movement from the chic to the shabby:

JPM is as much about informal meetings, pitches and confabs about new ideas, as it is about the actual CEO presentations, and so this situation is likely to continue in future years.

Meanwhile, we continue to dive in with our latest daily blog and put a bunch of companies through their paces.  If day 1 is all about the big pharmas, by day 3 the focus is much more on up and coming or mid sized biotechs…

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Salt Lake City, Utah – The CAR T cell therapy niche has certainly provided plenty of controversy, highlights and lowlights over the last decade or so, although much of the mainstream attention has really only surfaced in the last couple of years.

Gone skiing?

For those interested in this space, there is a short synopsis of the BMT Tandem 2018 plenary session that took place this weekend and simultaneously published in the ASBMT journal (See: Perales et al., 2018):

“Building a Safer and Faster CAR: Seatbelts, Airbags, and CRISPR” 

While no one doubts that we have a need for safer CARs to reduce or ameliorate severe toxicities (the debate here is what are the best ways to achieve that in the clinic), it remains unclear whether a fast or slow approach is the optimal way forward in terms of efficacy.

In this post, we take a look at new clinical and scientific findings that may pave the way forward for the future in the CAR T cell space through the lens of several different academic institutions…

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I was thinking that the reader mailbag questions this week would be full of straightforward easy to answer clinical questions, after all, they usually are post ASH and ASCO… but not this year!

T-cells attacking a cancer cell. Digital illustration.

T-cells attacking a cancer cell. Digital illustration.

Instead, there is a huge wall of intense focus on CAR T cell therapies and the latest round of intriguing developments in this space.  While CARs have received much attention, TCR cell products have largely flown under the radar to date, although that may change.

What’s particularly interesting is that these charges could potentially be transformative or absolute duds – it’s unlikely to be an indifferent middle ground here.

Here, we answer questions on the ever-increasingly complex science that is ongoing in the TCR and CAR T cell fields.

In the next mailbag, we will cover the clinical questions arising from data at ASCO, so if you have any queries on the data in Chicago, there’s still time to send them in before next Friday!

If you are interested in the new developments in the complex world of gene editing and how they may impact the ever-changing adoptive cell therapy space, then this article is for you.  Subscribers can log-in below or you can click the Blue Box to nab instant access!

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Beta thalassemia isn’t something you read much about in the medical lay press, at least until recently.  Part of the problem is the lack of approved therapies, as well as the dearth of new products being evaluated in this condition.  It’s also more common in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia compared to the US, where it’s medical cousin, sickle cell anemia, dominates.

Things are changing on the horizon though with the advent of new approaches in gene therapy and gene editing, which have enabled new compounds to be developed that strike right at the source of the problem – mutated genes – rather than tackle the symptoms associated with the complications that can arise.

As such, this new approach is potentially transformative and therefore of great medical interest.

bluebird bioIn the first of our two part series, we take a look at what the clinical impact of treating thalassemia patients really means and what’s happening next in sickle cell disease in a interview with Dr Alexis Thompson, the PI for the Bluebird Bio Northstar trial with lentiglobin that was presented at ASH last month.

Her perspectives offer a fascinating insight into this novel therapy now that the first 4 patients have been successfully treated.

In the second part of the series later this week, we will also take a look at Bluebird Bio the company, and their approach to gene therapy with lentiglobin and CAR T cell therapy with an interview with their CEO, Nick Leschly.

Interested readers can log-in or sign up below to learn more about lentiglobin in beta thalassemia.

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