Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘HDAC inhibitors’

In our latest thought leader interview we explore the intersection between epigenetic therapy and immunotherapy.

Gems from the ASCO17 poster hall

Much of the IO focus to date has been on monotherapies rather than combos, although that situation is slowly changing.

What we can also expect to see are the emergence of regimens, long the bedrock of traditional cancer therapy approaches.

As we learn how to bucket more discrete populations based on the underlying biology of the tumour microenvironment, so we will see a more IFTTT (If this then that) approach evolve in order to fix or improve a situation before or after attempting the core therapy. It might require a focus on changing the immunosuppressive or inhibitory factors, for example, or addressing factors that induce primary resistance upfront. The possibilities are endless.

Obviously, there are a number of ways to do this from chemotherapy and radiotherapy to epigenetic agents to targeted therapies – these traditional treatments are not going to go away, but I can see a future where we see more integration based on a patient’s underlying immune status. It won’t be the zero sum game many analysts seem to think it might be.

In the past, we have covered chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapies and looked at how they might be employed with immunotherapies in various guises. In this latest thought leader interview, we look at a different approach, epigenetic therapy and other novel immunotherapies.

Here, we combine two popular types of posts – Gems from the Poster Halls with an Expert Interview  – for detailed look at one particular area of research that is beginning to look quite intriguing.

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There were so many posters worthy of further analysis and discussion at ASCO this year that we may well need to write a longer series than usual on some of these hidden gems!

ASCO 2016 Posters 6If you’re anything like me, just getting round the massive poster hall melée each day in one piece to nab the QR codes and chat to some KOLs felt like an achievement in itself, never mind having the time to read and digest them properly.  This is why it’s nice to sit down and process some of the findings afterwards because there was actually quite a lot to learn on the nuances with later reflection.

So what’s on deck in the hot seat today?

Here, we focus on the importance of the tumour microenvironment and how that can be manipulated so that subsequent therapy can be more effective.

Fortunately, there are a number of different approaches that can potentially achieve this lofty goal, at least preclinically, but what happens in the real world when these concepts are actually tested in people with cancer?

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The ASCO 2014 annual meeting starts on Friday in Chicago and there’s some interesting Multiple Myeloma (MM) data that we’ll be covering.

This preview outlines which MM data may be noteworthy at ASCO and for those going, I’ve included the session times and locations so you can mark your dance card accordingly. There will be more on the potential commercial implications of the data once they have been presented.

Although ASCO is mainly considered a solid tumour meeting, it has not been without some excellent data on hematologic malignancies over the years.

ASCO will always have a particularly soft spot for me since we launched imatinib (Gleevec) for advanced CML on the Friday of ASCO way back in 2001. Many readers may know that I was in new products at Novartis Oncology and was heavily involved in bringing STI571, as it was originally known, to market and subsequently moved on to the brand team.

Gleevec on cover of Time MagazineThe meeting happened in a blur; on Friday we shipped drug for the first scripts the same day within hours of approval received that morning, flew to the conference, had a packed hall with standing room only for 2,000 people in a CME session in the afternoon, presented the one-year phase 3 IRIS data on the Monday, and received a very nice mention from Dr David Scheinberg (MSK), one of the phase 2 trialists during the Sunday plenary session. All these events occurred only a few days after hitting the front page of TIME magazine. It took quite a few weeks to come down from that incredible high!

When people insist ASCO is a solid tumour meeting, I always smile and remember that isn’t always the case.

Hematologic malignancies can generate excellent data mid year. This year, there is good news to discuss, not in CML, but multiple myeloma (MM) at both ASCO and at the European Hematology Association (EHA) Congress in Milan from June 12-15. There is also some nice CLL data, which I will cover in a separate preview.

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