Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘Janssen’

Not in San Diego: We took a close look at the potential for targeting gamma delta (𝞬𝝳) T cells early last year in an extended mini-series looking at the landscape including some of the early companies leading the way in this niche.

Since then there’s been a raft of company related announcements and collaborations in recent months, highlighting the ongoing interest in this field.

In this post, it’s time to revisit the original landscape (link), as well as explore how well some of the biotech companies who are active in this space are navigating the R&D roller coaster.

We will also be discussing recent data presented at the AACR20 virtual meetings.

So what did we learn about gamma delta T Cell therapies at AACR20 – who stands out from the increasingly crowded pack?

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Bispecifics in the garden? Who knows!

We’re continuing our preview of the ASCO 2019 annual meeting (Twitter #ASCO19) with a look at a fast-paced area of drug development that is attracting a lot of interest, namely the potential of bispecifics as novel cancer treatments.

On BSB we’ve been following this emerging field for the past five years or so, but at this year’s ASCO we expect to hear clinical data that may offer new insights.

If you’ve been in London this past week, then you may have been at the annual Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show, which features impressively designed show gardens built around a theme or location. They’re built with great attention to detail just for Chelsea, then at a few days they’re dismantled.

Large cancer meetings like ASCO19 are a bit like that too. We all come together for a few days to mix and mingle then go our separate ways again.

In the spirt of Chelsea, in this post we’re taking a look at what to watch for in the “ASCO19 bispecific garden,” if one were to be made.  There’s certainly a surfeit of choice to consider and like flowers, some may flourish under certain conditions, but not others.

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San Francisco

San Francisco – Yesterday at the ASCO Genitourinary Symposium, Dr Kim Chi noted that emerging data suggests that ctDNA appears to give better picture of tumour mutations than biopsy and can also monitor tumour load. This is an encouraging development that may facilitate increased use of the diagnostic as a helpful biomarker of response in clinical trials with immune checkpoint blockade.

We also know that prostate cancer sits firmly in the middle of the now famous Alexandrov and colleagues tumour mutation burden (TMB) analysis, but what factors are important in our understanding of the underlying biology of the disease?

There are many inhibitory factors exerted on the tumour microenvironment and thase may vary not only by tumour type e.g. renal cell carcinoma may have a greater influence from VEGF than prostate cancer, but also in individual patients.

With this in mind, I wanted to explore some new combination data being presented at the meeting, as well as look aspirationally to some potential combinations currently in development that may have escaped many people’s attention.

In this post, we take a look at current and future implications that keen observers should be watching out for…

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For years we’ve followed the trials and tribulations of targeted therapies seeing many approved and quite a few disappear forlornly (and officially) off to dog drug heaven. Many more sit in no-man’s land as companies eagerly wait in a holding pattern for other trial readouts in different tumour types. Sadly, sometimes these studies don’t generate enough compelling data either. With so much competition about, there are no shortcuts or low-hanging fruit in biotech or cancer drug development any more.

ASCO16 Chicago 1

En route to Chicago and ASCO!

Then along came antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), with some encouraging results in a range of cancers in both solid tumours and hematologic malignancies that lead to the approval of several new therapies.

After that, the next big advance was immunotherapies, specifically checkpoint blockade, with encouraging single agent activity in melanoma, lung, and even urothelial bladder cancer. We’ve also seen the promise fo combining two different checkpoints such as nivolumab and ipilimumab together in metastatic melanoma, albeit with an increase in toxicities.

This is all very well and good, although the challenge remains that the majority of patients either respond to therapy and relapse, or do not respond at all, depending on the circumstances, the tumour type and the regimen. We still have a long way to go in moving the needle and creating a new paradigm shift on a broad scale.

So what happens when we start to combine modalities – such as targeted therapies with immunotherapies?

Uh-oh, I hear the distant cries of disagreement erupt…

  • Remember vemurafenib plus ipilimumab in metastatic melanoma was scuppered by severe hepatitis?
  • What about osimertinib plus durvalumab in NSCLC and the increased incidence of ILD?

Both of these statements are true, and yet… we should not assume that all mixed therapy combination approaches are doomed on the basis of a mere n of 2. What happens if some are synergistic or additive? What happens of there are hidden gems that teach us new ways of doing things rather than doing the same old thing just because it’s always been done that way?

With this in mind, I’d like to open the door on our first ASCO 2016 Preview series with a look at novel combination approaches in development that caught my eye.

What are the early hints and signals that we can learn from the data? Which companies are evaluating imaginative new ideas that may turn the tables on traditional thinking?  The ideas discussed here may well surprise a few people.

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