Jan 27, 2022 (Financial News Media via COMTEX) -- FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary
Vancouver, BC -January 27, 2021 – USA News Group – There's plenty of optimism surrounding the major medical breakthroughs targeting multiple types of cancer that are getting closer to approval across the pharmaceutical sector. Among the latest trends are trials beginning for cancer vaccines , and combination therapy to combat resistance to chemotherapy drugs, and predictive oncology for precision cancer care . There has been plenty of development from the biotech sector, including from Oncolytics Biotech Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204741333/composite ONCY +2.78% /zigman2/quotes/203812837/delayed CA:ONC +0.71% , Johnson & Johnson /zigman2/quotes/201724570/composite JNJ -0.12% , Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203149337/composite REGN +0.68% , Illumina, Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203509482/composite ILMN +3.93% , and Amgen Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209157011/composite AMGN +0.96% .
Recently Oncolytics Biotech Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204741333/composite ONCY +2.78% /zigman2/quotes/203812837/delayed CA:ONC +0.71% announced that in early December, it will give an update on its Phase II Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Trial--known as the IRENE study, which is evaluating the company's flagship product pelareorep in combination with Incyte's anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor retifanlimab.
Pelareorep is being evaluated for multiple cancer types, including gastrointestinal cancers, where Oncolytics Biotech also announced the dosing of its first patient in a Phase 1/2 GOBLET Study, with another pelareorep-anti-PD-L1 combination.
"[The GOBLET] trial addresses a pressing unmet need in gastrointestinal cancer by leveraging pelareorep’s immunotherapeutic effects to overcome checkpoint inhibitor resistance and then increase the proportion of patients responding to checkpoint inhibition therapies," said Dr. Coffey. "Looking forward, we will continue to strategically leverage collaborations and partnerships to drive pelareorep’s development as an enabling technology for various immuno-oncology agents across multiple indications with high unmet needs.”
So far there have been several potential suitors for pelareorep, an immunotherapeutic agent that turns "cold" tumors "hot", including from Roche, Merck, Merck KGaA, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Pfizer Inc., all of which make oncology drugs that are being evaluated in combination with pelareorep.
Big changes are coming for Johnson & Johnson /zigman2/quotes/201724570/composite JNJ -0.12% , as the pharma giant is splitting into separate companies . On one side will be the company's better known over-the-counter household brands such as Neutrogena, Aveeno, and Band-Aids. On the other, will be J&J's leading cancer drug Darzalex, along with the pharma giant's Covid-19 injections, and medical devices for orthopedics and surgery.
In the second quarter of 2021, J&J's revenue in the pharmaceutical segment grew 13.8% year over year to $12.9 billion. Darzalex, was one of the company's biggest revenue drivers.
According to Jennifer Taubert, Executive Vice President, worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals at J&J, the company will rely on a combination of established medicines, investigational drugs, and new, innovative therapeutics such as CAR-T meds and gene therapies, on the company's route to becoming a $60-billion-a-year drug maker by 2025. She also told FiercePharma that Darzalex could soon get a boost from a combination regimen approval in frontline multiple myeloma.
For Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203149337/composite REGN +0.68% , a new $900 million cancer and infectious disease deal has been struck with Norwegian clinical-stage vaccine specialists Nykode (formerly Vaccibody). The collaboration covers multiple targets across five programmes, with three vaccines against cancer. Each of the vaccine candidates would be eligible for milestone and royalty payments.
Prior to the Nykode deal, Regeneron updated the sector on their ongoing diverse hematology program in blood cancers and disorders.
“Our hematology portfolio continues to expand with multiple trials now underway to investigate our bispecific antibodies, RNA-based therapies and gene editing, among other approaches,” said L. Andres Sirulnik, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Translational and Clinical Sciences, Hematology at Regeneron. “Our diverse pipeline includes investigational medicines across several blood cancers including multiple myeloma and lymphoma, in addition to blood disorders such as paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, aplastic anemia, amyloidosis and thrombosis. We continue to make progress across our hematology portfolio with eight assets currently in the clinic.”
Another potential blockbuster with combo potential is Lumakras from Amgen Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209157011/composite AMGN +0.96% --which was approved by the FDA in May , to become the first and only targeted treatment for patients with KRAS G12C-Mutated locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
"Lumakras has been prescribed by over 500 oncologists in both academic and community settings. A majority of clinical laboratories have updated their testing reports to reflect KRAS G12C as an actionable mutation, and approximately 75% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer are now being tested for the mutation at the time of diagnosis," said Amgen's commercial operations chief Murdo Gordon. "I'm very pleased with the Lumakras launch uptake in the U.S."
Analysts estimate Lumakras sales could hit $57 million in Q4 2021 and $350 million in 2022. They also see much more potential for growth with positive readouts from trials of combo treatments, particularly for colorectal cancer.
Illumina, Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203509482/composite ILMN +3.93% is leading the way in gene sequencing systems, having exceeded expectations all year. Three times so far this year, Illumina has raised its growth guidance, saying now that sales will rise 36%.
"Oncology testing, population sequencing and drug discovery initiatives drove record NovaSeq consumable and instrument shipments," said CEO Francis deSouza, in Regeneron's latest Q3 2021 earnings call . "Sequencing instruments revenue for core Illumina grew 65% year-over-year to $180 million, driven by record NovaSeq shipments that again more than doubled year-over-year due to accelerating demand in oncology testing."
Among its services is its contribution of its TruSight Oncology 500 assay to a next-gen cancer sequencing program, which covers more than 500 genes.