Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘neoantigens’

Downtown San Francisco

San Francisco — Amongst all the chaos and frenetic activity that abounds big Pharma at JPM each year, I always look forward to hearing what the smaller biotechs are up to on days 3 and 4, as well as seeing how far some of them have progressed since our previous update on their pipeline agents.

In this latest update, there are definitely some companies we have been following longitudinally who are either poised for future success and growth… or due for a correction if the promising science doesn’t pan out as expected in the clinic.

Indeed one of those companies has already hit success and disappointment in the last two months alone, such is the roller coaster that is oncology R&D.

Please note that this is a rolling blog, which means that numerous updates are added throughout the day as new information becomes available.

To learn more from our oncology coverage and get a heads up on our latest commentary JPM annual meeting, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

Some of the upcoming coming small biotechs caught our attention and may turn out to be future stars

National Harbor – There were quite a few gems in the poster halls and oral presentations from up and coming small cap biotechs at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting this year.

Who were they and what did we learn from them?

In the latest part of our latest SITC coverage we highlight 13 presentations – 11 from small biotechs and 2 academic abstracts – that caught our attention, explain what’s intriguing about them and why they matter.

There’s not a single big Pharma included (unless as a reference point or given in combination) since the focus is mainly on up and coming companies with their novel approaches.

The list is quite selective and not at all random from a list of over 850 abstracts.

So what stood out and what was special about them?

Some of the selections are likely hidden sleepers that few will be familiar with… they also cover a wide range of approaches, targets, different modalities and even strategic intent.

Even if you were at the SITC 2019 meeting, increasingly there were more business meetings taking up valuable time than sessions attended, so this is a great way to catch all the highlights for your trip report 😉

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

Old Post Office in Barcelona

Barcelona – After the torrential rains that hit here earlier in the month at WCLC, it’s glorious weather in Barcelona for the 2019 Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (#ESMO19).

Each day we’ll be providing highlights from the Congress with news, commentary and analysis from various presentations we’ve attended and thought leaders we’ve spoken to.

This ESMO Congress is a really exciting meeting, perhaps one of the busiest we’ve seen in recent years with multiple sessions in parallel to choose from. There are no shortage of data to discuss and review.  In distant years past, ESMO used to be known as the metaphorical dumping ground for negative trials that undoubtedly got lost in hurly burly – no longer! That changed after they started appearing in the Presidential Symposia and having the spotlight shone on the data. It’s now a much more vibrant meeting for clinical development, with an increasing translational focus thrown in too to explain the why and not just the what.  That’s good news for all of us.

To kick off our daily live ESMO coverage, we begin with sharing some useful insights gleaned from what we’ve heard so far plus more will be added throughout the day as we hear from the educational sessions later…

To learn more from our latest oncology conference insights and get a heads up on our latest ESMO Coverage, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

Mainz, Germany: A grey and gloomy day by the river Rhine has been brightened up by the quality of science on display at the 2019 annual meeting of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) (Twitter: #CIMT2019).

Dr Nicky McGranahan presenting at CIMT 2019

We were last here in Mainz 18 months ago for the EACR-CIMT-AACR Immuno-Oncology conference.

Cancer immunotherapy remains a work in progress, however.

What’s increasingly becoming more important is understanding the science, in particular finding answers to critical “why” questions that help us to not only understand the biology of cancer, but also why some people respond and others don’t.

In this post, we describe some of the key highlights and have penned some thoughts on some of the oral talks and posters presented today.

To learn more from our latest conference coverage and oncology insights, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

As we follow the journey of various neoantigen and neoepitope approaches from start-up and preclinical research through to the clinic, it’s been interesting to see how different companies and academic research groups have chosen to consider their R&D strategies.

Some of the companies we’ve interviewed and highlighted in this space include Neon Therapeutics, BioNTech, Gritstone, and newcomer, Achilles Therapeutics, along with various academic programs such as George Coukos’s neoepitope vaccine approach in Lausanne.

After we first spoke with Gritstone a couple of years ago, things seemed to go a bit quiet on the western front while Neon, BioNTech, and Achilles all had news to talk about. It’s always hard to choose from rock-paper-scissors and this may well be another modern twist of that genre until clinical data proves otherwise.

That all changed with more data being presented by the California-based biotech recently, plus patients are also being enrolled into their first neoantigen clinical trial.

At a recent conference, we caught up with their CMO, Dr Raphael Rousseau, to find out more about where they are and importantly, where they’re headed…

To learn more from our latest conference coverage and oncology insights, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

We’re starting our review of the program for the forthcoming 2019 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (Twitter hashtag to follow: #AACR19) with a look at the cancer immunotherapy program.

One of the challenges of a large meeting is that it’s like a smorgasbord or buffet in a hotel that’s resplendent in choices, but you can’t possibly eat it all.

Choices!

Some choose to follow a research area, others a target or tumor type. There’s a lot of ways to segment the program depending on your specific interests.

However, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place ahead of a large conference such as AACR, even if you modify it as you go to take into account evolving needs.

Seasoned conference goers will be familiar with the maxim known as “the law of two feet” – if a session you are in doesn’t live up to expectations or meet your needs and something else looks more to your taste from the tweets, then simply dash off to another!

In our latest conference preview, we’ve taken a careful look at the cancer immunotherapy track.

What are some of the key sessions to put on your calendar if you’re following this track or have an interest in this area?

In Part 1, we review the IO sessions from Friday to Sunday then tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll review the schedule from Monday to Wednesday.  Yes, it’s that intense this year! Just think, five years ago you had to search the program really quite hard indeed to even find much on immuno-oncology, as it was very much in its infancy then.

If you’d like to read more about our latest cancer conference preview, subscribers can log-in to read our latest thought leader interview or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

Barcelona: What makes a great scientist is not accepting conventional wisdom or dogma but instead thinking differently, pursuing what data generated truly means, and asking if we can do things differently as a result?

Gaudi architecture, Barcelona

Current success in immuno-oncology new product development has been built on basic research done twenty and thirty years ago, when many didn’t believe in leveraging the power of the immune system therapeutically.

At the ongoing European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) “Defense is the Best Attack” meeting in Barcelona this week, many experts in the IO field are sharing novel findings on what may lead to future insights.

What were some of the key take-homes?

Subscribers can read our notes from some of the presentations that stood out at the meeting.

If you’re not yet a BSB subscriber and are interested in learning from our science and clinical commentary/analysis then come join a growing band of enthusiastic readers!

To learn more from our latest conference coverage and oncology insights, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

The Francis Crick Institute in London has an admirable program of engagement with the public and external researchers.

Attending a Crick Lecture recently presented by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Chief Scientific Officer, Prof Karen Vousden CBE FRS, reminded me of my days as a PhD student at nearby King’s College London.

Regular BSB readers will recall that Prof Charles Swanton FRS is the Chief Clinician of CRUK.

In her Crick lecture, Prof Vousden elegantly explained to the audience why p53 mattered and how it might be targeted by small molecules.

What is the potential of this research for translational drug development? In this post, we take a look at new developments in the basic understanding of what p53 does, the current state of targeting p53 and Prof Vousden’s latest approaches.

To learn more from our latest biotech and oncology insights, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

T lymphocyte    Source: Dr Triche, NCI

It’s time for an update on cytokines as there is a lot going on here across both academia and industry.

While the clinical proof of concept has been demonstrated for IL-2 with FDA approval going back to 1992, there’s still much that we don’t know when it comes to the telephone directory containing many of the others.

There’s quite a few questions that can be asked:

  • Which ones might be best in which tumour types?
  • What about timing, dosing, and sequencing?
  • Which early combinations look promising in terms of unleashing the T lymphocytes?

After all, let’s not forget that some cytokines will induce negative immunosuppression, while others might induce variable effects depending on what they encounter in the tumour microenvironment.  It’s certainly a lot more complicated than many people truly realise.

There’s also the much under-rated potential to combine cytokines with other approaches such as immune agonists in order to jumpstart the colder tumours.

In this latest update, we take a look at five very different approaches and see how much progress is being made with alternative forms of immune modulation – the resulting conclusions might well surprise quite a few readers!

To learn more from our latest biotech and oncology insights, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

This content is restricted to subscribers

There is a lot of interest of late in targeting neoantigens in cancer therapeutically. If you missed it do listen to Episode 20 of the Novel Targets Podcast, which features several pioneers in the field.

At the recent European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) meeting, we heard Dr Patrick Ott from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute present the latest clinical data for Neon’s cancer vaccine approach (See: interview with Dr Ott).

If you have an interest in neoantigen based cancer treatments, however, then a company on the horizon that we’re excited about is Achilles Therapeutics.

It’s an early stage company, in what is very much still a developing and emerging field. Founded just over two years ago, it has a strong academic pedigree. The scientific co-founders are Professors Karl Peggs, Mark Lowdell, Charles Swanton and Sergio Quezada.

BSB readers will recall our prior interviews with Prof Charlie Swanton FRS (See: here and here), where he talked about the groundbreaking TRACERx study he’s leading, some of the insights it is generating regarding neoantigens, and their importance in cancer evolution.

Achilles Therapeutics was established to commercialise the intellectual property being generated from the TRACERx program.

While in London en-route to ESMO18, the CEO of Achilles Therapeutics, Dr Iraj Ali kindly spoke to BSB about where the company is, and some of its future plans.

From what we heard, it’s definitely a company we can expect to hear a lot more about in the cancer immunotherapy space. Check it out!

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

Free Email Updates
Subscribe to new post alerts, offers, and additional content!
We respect your privacy and do not sell emails. Unsubscribe at any time.
error: Content is protected !!