Following the success of anti-CTLA4 and PD(L)1 therapies over the last five years or so, there is much time and attention being focused on addressing a key question, namely – what’s the next viable checkpoint target?
There are quite a few possibilities emerging, although to be fair, some of them will no doubt go by the wayside over the next year or two. There has already been quite a bit of attrition since 2015/16. Figuring out which ones will be a target versus being a useful marker is also an important aspect of new product development.
Competition is a fine thing – as long as they’re going in the direction you want to go.
For most of our ASCO coverage over the last few years we have tended to include a variety of approaches in the pre-conference Preview series that can run from a tumour type, a up and coming modality, an emerging target, and various other ways of looking at or making sense of the sea of data.
Here, we take a look at an IO target that is receiving much interest and explore what we know and where this might be headed… and ask whether the early promise is living up to the billing in practice?
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Some really intriguing news was announced this morning, with Aduro Biotech issuing a press release on their new global collaboration with Novartis for their “immuno-oncology products derived from its proprietary STING-targeted CDN platform technology.”
Many readers will recall Aduro for its program that inserts genetically engineered lysteria into therapeutics aka the LADD regimen. The lead program, CRS–207, in combination with GVAX Pancreas in pancreatic cancer previously received Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA. Their scientific advisers include Drew Pardoll and Frank McCormick, who are immunotherapy and protein pathway specialists, respectively.
The collaboration with Novartis is for a completely different platform based on cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs), which are small molecules that are naturally expressed by bacteria and immune cells and have been recently shown to activate the STING (Stimulator of Interferon Genes) signaling pathway in immune cells.
So what’s the significance of this exciting deal and why does it matter?
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