It’s been a busy week for the biotech sector with several companies attending the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to showcase data on their experimental as well as approved cancer drugs. Companies like ImmunoGen IMGN and Juno JUNO came out with encouraging data.
Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories
1. Amgen AMGN remained in the news with the company providing several pipeline updates. The company is collaborating with Roche on a phase Ib study that will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Amgen’s investigational cancer immunotherapy, talimogene laherparepvec, in combination with Roche’s investigational anti-PDL1 therapy, atezolizumab in patients with triple-negative breast cancer and colorectal cancer with liver metastases (Read more: Roche Collaborates with Amgen for Immuno-Oncology). Amgen has also signed up with Merck for evaluation of talimogene laherparepvec in combination with Merck’s Keytruda.
Amgen was also present at ASCO with positive results from a late-stage study on Prolia in postmenopausal women with early hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer receiving aromatase inhibitor therapy. Meanwhile, the company has started a late-stage study on a once-weekly dosing regimen of its multiple myeloma treatment, Kyprolis (currently approved for twice-weekly dosing).
2. Juno continues to strengthen its capabilities to create best-in-class engineered T cells against a wide range of cancer targets. The company has acquired X-BODY – the acquisition provides Juno with protein engineering capabilities that should boost the company’s ability to generate novel CAR T and TCR product candidates. Juno has been pretty active on this front with the company acquiring Stage Cell Therapeutics and striking a deal with Editas Medicine last month.
Juno also presented encouraging data on its most advanced CAR T cell candidate, JCAR015, at ASCO, in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The company reported encouraging clinical responses to its other CAR T cell candidate, JCAR014, in patients with B-cell cancers.
3. ImmunoGen, which focuses on the development of anticancer therapeutics using its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology, saw its shares soar 71.9% on encouraging early-stage data on its unique, FRα-targeting ADC, mirvetuximab soravtansine. The company is looking to move the candidate into a phase II study later this year as a single-agent treatment for patients with FRα-positive platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Chances are that this study could be used for registration (Read more: ImmunoGen Surges on Positive Ovarian Cancer Study Data).
4. Gilead GILD presented late-stage data at ASCO on Zydelig plus Arzerra for use in treatment-experienced patients suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The company reported a 73% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death in patients receiving Zydelig plus Arzerra compared to Arzerra alone. Gilead has filed an application in the U.S. seeking approval for the inclusion of this data in the product label (Read more: Gilead Reveals Encouraging Data from Leukemia Study).
AbbVie ABBV was also present at ASCO with data on Imbruvica which became a part of its portfolio following the recent acquisition of Pharmacyclics (Read more: AbbVie Presents Positive Data from Multiple Studies at ASCO).
Over the last five trading days, Gilead recorded the highest gain (3.80%) among major biotechs. Amgen saw its shares declining 1.62% during this period. Regeneron REGN was the highest gainer (20.81%) over the last six months. Alexion ALXN lost 18.37% during this period.The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index gained 0.79% over the last five trading days (See the last biotech stock roundup here: Eleven Bio Slumps on Eye Drug Data, Achillion Signs Deal with J&J).
CompanyLast WeekLast 6 MonthsAMGN-1.62%-6.64%BIIB-1.34%18.08%GILD3.80%11.50%CELG-0.51%-1.15%REGN0.45%20.81%ALXN-1.22%-18.37%VRTX1.77%4.92%
What’s Next in the Biotech World?
Regeneron/Sanofi’s Praluent and Amgen’s Repatha, both PCSK9 inhibitors, currently under FDA review, will come up before the agency’s endocrinologic and metabolic drugs advisory panel on Jun 9 and 10, respectively.