Biotech Strategy Blog

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

Posts tagged ‘STING-cGAS pathway’

Continuing our STING mini series, the third part looks at a company with a next generation agonist that is heading into the clinic soon.

What sort of challenges have the overcome, what can we expect to learn more about? Are they thinking narrowly or broadly?

One of the most exciting times for me in new product development is not when they move from phase 2 to approval, launch, and subsequent commercialisation, but that window between preclinical studies and first-in-man trials. The IND-enabling phase is an intense period with much to get done that can make or break subsequent advanced solid tumour dose finding trials.

Get your various key predictions wrong and you could be looking at a spate of unwanted severe side effects that will rapidly grind your trial to a halt. Sometimes they are a predicted risk at a much higher dose, for example, other times the PK/PD predictions don’t turn out as expected at all (oops). Then there’s scheduling and timing issues to think about on top of dosing and therapeutic window for combination trials.

Despite a lot of research, it’s still a very imperfect science. As one of my mentors used to say, “Better to be lucky than pedantically dotting all the i’s and t’s!”

So imagine a young up and coming IO biotech in that window between preclinical and clinical development – what are they going to do and where do they see themselves fitting in the broader landscape?

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Yesterday, we started the first of a multi-part mini series on STING agonism with a quick look at the broad landscape and some of the competitors in this space, which has definitely grown over the last four years since we first wrote about the STING/cGAS pathway.

In the latest part of the STING series, we talk to a small, privately held biotech who are developing a slightly different approach to the first generation agonists currently in early phase clinical trials.

One goal that many are looking at with STING agonism is to try and take less inflamed tumours and turn them into inflamed ones (or cold to hot in layman’s parlance).

We also need strategies for adding those middling tumours that are neither purely inflamed nor non-inflamed i.e. immune excluded and may have other factors influencing their tumour microenvironment, which is something else we also discuss in the interview.

No one would ever describe the trials and tribulations of oncology R&D as a cakewalk, there are certainly plenty of challenges to address on the discovery, preclinical, and even clinical front before we even get to consider the financial need to raise money, pharma collaborations and (hopefully), eventual commercialisation post approval. It can be a wild roller coaster ride at the best of times.

We have an agnostic approach to cancer drug development and cover small and large companies in equal measure.

So what can we learn from the first of the next generation STING agonist companies?

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

This content is restricted to subscribers

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