As we prepare for rolling out some additional expert interviews on a variety of topics together with another mini-series on a tricky target, I wanted to take a moment to explore the Neon Therapeutics data.
Most of the news reports yesterday seemed to be concentrated around a general theme of ’cancer vaccine assist beats immunotherapy drugs alone!’or ‘vaccine boosts Opdivo response in 3 cancers’ … but does the data live up to the breathless hype that ensued? What can we say about the latest clinical update?
As often is the case, the true story around the facts turns out to be much more nuanced and subtle in flavour than the garish headlines might have you believe…
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As we continue our journey exploring neoantigens in the context of novel cancer research in Part 3 of our latest mini-series, today we focus on the commercialisation side of the business through an interview with a leading investor, Dr Cary Pfeffer, who is a partner in Third Rock Ventures, as well as being ad interim CEO of Neon Therapeutics. We’ve written about other Third Rock companies in the past; Agios, Foundation Medicine and bluebird bio come to mind, for example.
How does an exciting early product in development move from academia to industry? There are many ways to do this, so here is the story through the eyes of one young company with strong academic connections, as a way to illustrate what can be done. It isn’t the only way, by any means.
To be sure, there are other competitor companies in the neoantigen space – Gritstone and Moderna come to mind as examples – we will cover companies in the broader landscape in a future post. There is also an incredible amount of promising research going on in academia right now, which may lead to more companies or products being licensed and developed.
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This week we’re focusing on neoantigens, what role they have to play in cancer immunotherapy and novel approaches that identify and use them as a therapeutic modality.
When you look at the cancer immunotherapy landscape it’s like looking at a stained glass window – it’s not only about the light but seeing the patterns and way the glass is aesthetically arranged in order to make it effective.
Today’s post, the second in a mini-series of three, features an interview with a thought leader doing pioneering work at the forefront of how neoantigen based vaccines can be used to target solid tumors.
The field of vaccine based cancer immunotherapy research is attracting renewed interest from VCs, angel investors and academics because of it’s potential to be used in combination with other immunotherapies.
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