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Bluebird and Celgene BCMA CAR-T kicks off ASCO

Will be reporting updated phase I trial data for bb2121in multiple myeloma patients

ASCO

The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) kicks off in Chicago on Friday, with oncologists, scientists, investors and the press congregating to hear the latest trial results in cancer.

Once again, the programme reflects the fast pace of change in cancer therapy, and immuno-oncology will be prominent with a swathe of new studies looking at new drugs, combinations and technologies that promise to extend what is fast becoming a revolution in patient care.

New studies of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) immunotherapy - which was named by ASCO as the advance of the year in its annual report published in January - will be a big draw.

On the first day of the show, Celgene and Bluebird Bio will be reporting updated data from a phase I trial of their anti-B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) CAR-T cell therapy bb2121 in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.

Celgene is also behind a presentation on day two of the show of new data from a pivotal trial lisocabtagene maraleucel (JCAR017), a CAR-T for relapsed/refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma developed by Juno Therapeutics, which was acquired by Celgene earlier this year.

There will be updated results from a mid-stage trial of Kite Pharma and Gilead’s Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) in large B-cell lymphoma looking at the durability of responses, as well as preclinical data in the much tougher challenge of using CAR-T therapies to tackle solid tumours.

There will be plenty to talk about in drug-based immunotherapy as well, and in particular trials comparing the first-generation checkpoint inhibitors to chemotherapy, as well as studies looking at their role in combination with chemotherapy or other immuno-oncology candidates.

One of the highlights of this track will be the KEYNOTE-042 trial of Merck & Co’s PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) compared to platinum-based chemotherapy as a first-line option for patients with metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) - regardless of PD-L1 expression levels.

First-line NSCLC is also the focus for other much-anticipated new trials, including progression-free survival figures from Roche’s IMpower131 study of PD-L1 inhibitor Tecentriq (atezolizumab) plus Avastin (bevacizumab) and chemo, and an overall survival analysis from IMpower150, which looked at the effects of adding Tecentriq to Avastin and chemo in first-line non-squamous NSCLC.

Meanwhile, Bristol-Myers Squibb will be presenting the results of the CheckMate-227 study of PD-1 drug Opdivo (nivolumab) in combination with chemo in previously-untreated NSCLC patients.

There will also be early-stage clinical results - both positive and negative - with new-mechanism immunotherapy drugs. That includes data on Jounce Therapeutics’ ICOS-targeting antibody JTX-2011 which disappointed investors when the ASCO abstract was made public earlier this month, as well as Celldex’ anti-CD27 agonist varlilumab, Forty Seven’s anti-CD47 drug Hu5F9-G4 and CD122-biased agonist NKTR-214 from Nektar, to name just a few.

There’ll be plenty of news from ASCO away from immuno-oncology of course. There is a raft of new studies involving targeted therapies - for example Roche’s P13K inhibitor taselisib in breast cancer and RET inhibitors from Loxo Oncology and Blueprint Medicines spring to mind - and antibody-drug conjugates will also feature prominently.

ADCs on show include Pfizer and AbbVie’s cofetuzumab pelidotin, a PTK7-targeting drug that was picked up by the latter via its 2-16 purchase of Stemcentrx, though that deal was prompted mainly by prospects for Rova-T, an ADC that failed to hit the mark in trials earlier this year.

Immunomedics will present phase I/II result of its Trop-2-targeting sacituzumab govitecan (IMMU-132) in breast cancer - which prompted an investor revolt when the biotech’s former management tried to license it to Seattle Genetics last year - while other breast cancer ADCs on the agenda at ASCO include Daiichi is developing trastuzumab deruxtecan and Takeda/Mersana’s XMT-1522.

PMLive will be reporting highlights from ASCO over the coming days - stay tuned for updates.

Article by
Phil Taylor

30th May 2018

From: Research

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