Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘MYC’

Finding pathways to success in breast cancer

The last week brough a huge tsunami of data across varied topics ranging from hematologic malignancies (ASH), breast cancer (SABCS) and immunotherapies (ESMO IO) – we’re still digging our way out of it all!

There’s plenty of detailed analyses yet to come from all of these meetings, including some KOL interviews and thought provoking pieces to consider as well.

Here we look at some translational findings from academic researchers as well as companies involved in clinical trials in breast cancer. Yes, it’s time for some post SABCS reviews on a series of different topics…

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on the latest insights and commentary pertaining to the SABCS meeting, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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A look at upregulated targets outside of the BCR signalling pathway and what small molecules are looking promising

In our final preview of ASH 2020 exploring key abstracts and what to watch out for this weekend, we offer the second half of our discussion around small molecules in early stage development.

There’s always a roller coaster ride in any early stage drug development and small molecule inhibitors are no different from antibodies, bispecifics, or even immunotherapies in this respect.

There are certainly some unexpected and surprising overlaps discussed and uncovered here plus also some novel combination approaches either being considered or which may potentially need to be considered in the future.

So what’s in store this time around?

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on the latest insights and commentary pertaining to the ASH meeting — including our final Preview ahead of the meeting this weekend, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Beyond the four ‘majors’ in terms of cancer conferences (AACR, ASCO, ESMO, and ASH) there are a large number of others too numerous to mention and even a growing number of specialist meetings organised around various subtopics or niches.

The Covid–19 debacle has a silver lining in that it has created a great opportunity to dip into meetings or events one wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend due to geography or logistics.

Personally, I’ve been sincerely grateful for the new learning opportunities this unique microcosm has provided and am happy to share some new scientific or clinical findings or even emerging trends we at BSB have come across during the strange year 2020 has turned out to be.

Nothing can replace face to face interactions with people, yet out of despair springs hope eternal… especially on US Election Day.

There’s a lot going on under the hood in terms of what various academic and company researchers alike are doing in cancer research, so as we wait for SITC next week, I wanted to spend some time highlighting some important developments I learned about from recent specialist meetings, which will likely appeal to both pharma and biotech execs, as well as those folks looking to invest in early scientific opportunities before they become too mainstream….

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Can we build up a storm against hard to treat cancers?  The initial evidence suggests, yes we can!

Today’s focus is on an emerging new biotech company with potential to make an impact in difficult to treat solid tumours with a more selective and focused approach to oncology drug development.

We’ve talked about the so-called ‘drugging the undruggable’ targets in the past, but what if we could circle back and use a different approach in combination with existing selective inhibitors currently in the clinic?

These possibilities – and others – caught my attention and they may pique yours too, so what’s this all about?

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It’s the dog days of summer and time for some meaty controversy to read!

For the longest time there have been several cancer types which have been incredibly difficult to treat therapeutically.

Metastatic melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) both used to be in this category, as did glioblastoma and advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

We have made great strides in changing the face (and more importantly outcomes!) for people with both metastatic melanoma and lung cancer, so what’s happening on the pancreatic cancer front?

The last two years gave certainly thrown up a series of disappointing clinical trial readouts such as RESOLVE, HALO–301, CanStemIIIP, and SEQUIOA, for example, where in each and every case the findings favoured the control arm of gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel over the experimental arm in terms of improving survival.  Not one of them was able to raise the bar and show a significant improvement over standard therapy, which is pretty disappointing.

So what can be done to change the face of PDAC?

If we want to improve further then we need to go back to basics and enhance not only our understanding of the funadamental biological mechansisms and processes, but also the models we use to interrogate the systems involved.

In this post, we look at six key new areas of research in PDAC and explain what we’ve learned and why they matter if we are to see new therapeutic developments arise from the ashes of the past…

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging on pancreatic cancer, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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It is becoming increasing obvious in these challenging times as the pandemic spreads globally that no corner of the earth (except perhaps the Antartica) is being left untouched.  As lockdowns begin or continue depending the phase the spread is at, this also has numerous implications for clinical trials, both academic and company funded studies alike.

Which direction should we be considering for early anti-cancer therapeutics?

One of the broader effects of the coronavirus pandemic likely means we won’t see much new data on many of the clinical trials after the currently scheduled presentations for AACR, ASCO, ESMO and ASH for a while yet, perhaps well in to 2021, which in turn is a strong reminder if we want to see how much progress is being made then we need to look at what data is available now.

I can well imagine many folks are already completely Zoomed or WebExed out from constant online meetings dealing with the implications of the pandemic on research and clinical development, as well as what happens to new and existing trials, so the idea of listening to two days of a virtual meeting on top is probably a bit daunting for the time-challenged observers amongst you.

AACR’s virtual meeting is a wonderful opportunity for smart folks to take some careful snapshots of where we are now, and how some of the early pipeline agents are shaping up.

The good news is we while your online internal meetings continue apace, we will be posting many reviews, summaries, discussion and analysis of the data here on BSB, hopefully sparing many of the additional stress in busy times. We plan to make the process of analysis and commentary relatively easy so you can follow along with us.

For reference, you can access all of our ongoing AACR20 conference coverage here. Future posts will also be added to this magazine page as they are posted.

In our fourth AACR Preview series, we take a keen look at some additional early products in development of interest, as we continue our updates on the never ending oncology R&D journey.

We highlight 10 emerging agents in early stage development to watch out for…some are new and others we previously reviewed preclinically and have moved along in their R&D journey into the clinic, with good and bad results to think about.

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging from the first annual AACR virtual meeting subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Part of the next wave of early immuno-oncology agents are focused on addressing the tumour microenvironment and inhibitory factors that dampen down immune responses.

As we look at all the options available, there are a few obvious ones such as physical barriers and inhibitory cytokines or chemokines, but beyond that are a vast array of other potential targets we can aim at therapeutically.

We have covered quite a few of these already, but here’s a new one to add to the list.

One particular advantage is that because it is early in development, few competitors have cottoned on to the concept yet. First mover advantage can have quite a few benefits, after all.

Here’s an important question to consider in terms of oncology R&D – would you rather explore a blue ocean strategy or follow the lemmings off the cliff and be 14th to market in a highly competitive red ocean?

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on insights emerging our latest analysis and commentary, including a company interview subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Orlando bound for ASH!

What is old is new again…

I have that distinct feeling of deja vu with the ASH asbtract drop yesterday on several fronts. It’s quite a few years now since we wrote about the runners and riders in the BTK/PI3K race to market in CLL and by weird coincidence a topic I was covering by interview yesterday on the RAS pathway came up in one of the first ASH asbtracts I was reading, which was rather spooky. Clearly Halloween came slightly late to Florida this year!

So how do all these disparate topics hang together and why are we excited about a small cap biotech company that is largely under many people’s radar?

They have some unexpected unifying threads…

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on insights from the first of first ASH19 Previews, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Time for some reflection

Before we get to the World Congress in Lung Cancer (WCLC) taking place this weekend, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the things we have learn over the last few weeks.

It’s time for a reader mailbag as we answer reader questions on the recent MYC mini-series, as well as covering bromodomain inhibitors (what’s going on there?) and discuss a new PROTAC compound in early development that looks quite interesting.

We also explain why that is the case…

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Yesterday we posted the first part of an extended interview with Professor Gerard Evan (Cambridge), where we discussed the oncogene MYC and what we have learned from his and others work in this emerging field.

It hard not to be in Cambridge and think of biology as anything but an seriously intellectual pursuit, and yet there are many lessons to be gained from a better understanding of why things do what they do – in both health and disease – if we are to even think about going about manipulating them therapeutically.

The river Cam in Cambridge earlier this year

Without much ado, here’s the second part of the interview with Prof Evan, where we channel our inner Socrates and focus on a lot of whys rather than hows.

We turn to discussing the biological principles around how MYC and KRAS behave in concert, what we do and don’t know about p53 as a tumour suppressor, plus a few other related topics of interest, including what happens to immune cells in their lung and pancreas cancer models.  There’s also the little secret of what Prof Evan describes as the ‘dark matter of cancer biology.’

I highly recommend reading the previous post before moving on to digesting this portion of our enlightening discussion…

To learn more from out latest oncology expert interview and get a heads up on their perspectives, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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