Pullan's Pieces #127                                       
Pullan's Pieces #127
June 2017
BD News and Analysis for  Biotech and Pharma
Dear --FNAME--,
My latest panel  on "Non-IO in an IO World" is now available as a whitepaper, and I think the panelists' insights are fun and meaningful.  Check it out!  




1.  Lupus and cancer targets

2.   Infographic: China biologics in-licensing

3.  Big news from ASCO and Sachs IO forum

4.  Companies to Watch and Big buy-outs

Hope you enjoy a lovely summer!  



New hope for Lupus - fueled by cancer targets
Lupus has been a challenging disease, with many failures.  Now we are coming upon a flood of new pivotal trial readouts.  The target list put together by Evaluate Pharma highlights that autoimmunity and cancer biology are connected.  

Infographic:  China Biologics In-licensing Deals
Big News from ASCO and Sachs 3rd Annual IO Forum 
What was BIG at  Sachs 3rd Annual IO Forum and ASCO2017?  
CAR-T cells were indeed big, with the BCMA-targeted CARTs from Nanjing Legend and Bluebird Bio showing impressive response rates and little relapse in multiple myeloma. Note:  Nanjing's CART is actually a bispecific targeting CD38 as well as BCMA.  http://www.biopharmadive.com/news/bluebird-legend-car-t-bcma-multiple-myeloma-asco/444279/  

Toxicity was present with these CARTs, with 85% of patients having Cytokine Release Syndrome but it was manageable, with 2 severe cases being treated with Acterma. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cancer-cartcells-idUSKBN18W1GZ

 Jacob Plieth at Evaluate Pharma tweetted a number of new CART developments.

1) Combining Co-stimulatory domains in CART. https://twitter.com/JacobPlieth/status/860408535565447169 
2) Epitope spreading, lost with preconditioning.
3). CART reprogramming of the tumor microenvironment.    https://twitter.com/JacobPlieth/status/871490221287845888

The other really big ASCO news was LOXO 101, with a 76% response rate in  the rare patients with TRK gene fusions, with the trial including 17 tumor types.  Some will be encouraged that a new twist (tumor specificity via uptake by folate receptors) of an old mechanism (thymidylate synthase inhibition) can be so powerful.  The diagnostic for TRK gene fusions needs to be part of a panel because it will be hard to justify a TRK gene fusion test to be run by itself given its rarity.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/elaineschattner/2017/06/09/precision-oncology-drug-shows-power-of-cancer-genomics/#73a726fc5321 

What about other checkpoint inhibitors?   At the Sach's Forum, we heard that there are ~800 combination with PD1/L1s in clinical trials.  

But at ASCO, the combos seemed to be only incremental.     But Evaluate Pharma did a great report with charts on all those combos.  
Companies to Watch and Big Earnouts
EY Beyond Borders 2017 report came out recently.  The big messages are that: 

  • 2016 was harder than 2015, with net income down for the industry.  
  • FDA approvals were down in 2016 vs 2015.   
  • ROI needs to be improved as the cost of a new drug just keeps going up.

Companies to Watch:   Here is a list of big-market-cap companies without a marketed product.  Many of these companies will be looking for additional products in the next few years.   Hematology and Ophthalmology are areas of interest beyond the expected dominance of oncology. 
ASIAN Companies to Watch:  
Similarly, new powers are coming in Asia Pacificm with big financings (including my friends from Innovent). 

In the deal summaries, EY points to big biobucks and big earn-outs on M&A.  These numbers are can include rewards for improbable events, making it difficult to use these numbers in comparisons across deals without knowing the triggers for the contingent values.  
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