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Drug development showcasing at AACR conference

Published on 13/04/15 at 10:53am
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Research highlights at the conference are to include immuno-oncology treatments such as Merck’s Keytruda

This month’s American Association of Cancer Research conference is set to showcase the latest studies in oncology.

Roche’s biotech subsidiary Genentech, along with Novartis, AstraZeneca and Bayer will all present data on investigational treatments, in special sessions on drug development highlighting new cancer drugs on the horizon.

The Genentech abstract will showcase MOXR0916, a humanised monoclonal antibody, while AstraZeneca is highlighting the discovery of AZD9496, a clinical candidate for the treatment of oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancer that the company is evaluating in a Phase I clinical trial.

Novartis will be presenting research on GH447, which is in clinical trials for blood cancers and Bayer is showing results of a Phase I trial of BAY 1143572, a first-in-class tumour inhibitor.

New research on immuno-oncology treatments, including Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab), will also be presented. Merck are presenting results from the KEYNOTE randomised controlled trials. One study is examining preliminary results on the clinical safety and efficacy of Keytruda in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, and another is a look at the relationship with PD-L1 expression in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Precision medicine, the subject of a recent $215 million investment by US President Barack Obama and the focus of a new UK precision medicine research centre, is another research focus at the Philadelphia conference.

Two studies – the IMPaCT and the INFORM trials – will look at the potential for precision medicines as a personalised treatment for advance pancreatic cancer, and in high-risk paediatric cancer patients.

AstraZeneca will present more than 60 abstracts featuring research from the UK firm, and its global R&D arm MedImmune, including the EU-approved Lynparza (olaparib). Scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research will present data from the TOPARP Phase II study (Trial of Olaparib in Patients with Advanced Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer) in an oral late breaker session, demonstrating the potential to identify patients who will respond well to Lynparza by genetic analysis of their tumour biopsies.

Susan Galbraith, head of the oncology innovative medicines unit at AstraZeneca, says: “The extensive range of work we are presenting this year illustrates the pace of acceleration of our early-to-mid-stage pipeline, and its sharp focus on the science. We are also presenting a number of examples of combinations across our portfolio, which is an important part of our strategy to develop more efficacious treatments for cancer.”

Lilian Anekwe

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