December 4, 2017: Allan B. Haberman, Ph.D. was one of about 25 experts from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and consulting firms who attended Aptuit’s one-day think-tank event, ”Improving Candidate Selection: Translating Molecules into Medicines”. This was the third and final such networking and discussion symposium, which was held in downtown Boston. The previous two events in this series had been held in San Francisco (18th & 19th Sept 2017) and in Hertfordshire, UK (22nd & 23rd Oct 2017).
The focus of the meeting was on improving drug candidate selection in order to improve development success. Only about 10% of drug candidates make their way from first-in-humans trials to regulatory approval. The greatest amount of attrition occurs in Phase 2. Approximately half of candidates fail at that stage, mainly due to lack of efficacy.
For more information about this event, see our blog article.
The new 2017 report includes an updated discussion of approved and clinical stage agents in immuno-oncology. It also addresses the means by which researchers and companies are attempting to build on prior achievements in immuno-oncology to achieve improved outcomes for more patients. This approach is often referred to as “immuno-oncology 2.0.” The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) named “immunotherapy 2.0” as its “Advance of the Year” for 2017.
As discussed in the report, researchers have found that checkpoint inhibitors such as pembrolizumab (Merck’s Keytruda) and nivolumab (Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo) produce tumor responses by reactivating TILs (tumor infiltrating lymphocytes). As a result, researchers have been developing biomarkers that distinguish inflamed (i.e. TIL-containing) tumors—which are susceptible to checkpoint inhibitor therapy—from “cold” tumors, which are not. They have also been working to develop means to render “cold” tumors inflamed, via treatment with various conventional therapies and/or development of novel agents. These studies are the major theme of immuno-oncology 2.0. Meanwhile, cellular immunotherapy has also been advancing, with two chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies (from Novartis and Kite Pharma) in preregistration with the FDA as of March 2017.
These and other areas of current cancer immunotherapy R&D are discussed in the new report.
The report is designed to enable readers to understand current and future developments in immuno-oncology. It is also designed to inform the decisions of leaders in companies and in academic groups that are working in areas that relate to cancer R&D and treatment.
For more information on the report, or to order it, see the CHI Insight Pharma Reports website.