Yescarta and Kymriah, known as CAR-T therapies, can help cancer patients by arming their immune cells to attack diseased tissue in types of lymphoma and leukemia. But, because the immune cells must be genetically engineered outside the body, treatment is lengthy, complicated and expensive.
The dual-acting, or “bispecific,” antibodies being developed by AbbVie and Genmab, Roche, and other companies like Johnson & Johnson and Regeneron, latch onto proteins on both diseased and immune cells to trigger an attack. Unlike CAR-T drugs, which are meant to be a one-time infusion, bispecific antibodies must be given regularly. In the case of this epcoritamab trial, patients received a subcutaneous shot every four weeks.
Data from 157 patients with large B cell lymphoma reported Wednesday showed that 63% responded to treatment with epcoritamab, although the company didn’t detail how many were driven into remission versus experiencing partial responses. In order to be included in the trial, patients had to have relapsed after at least two lines of therapy. Nearly 40% had previously received CAR-T treatment. READ MORE
by Jonathan Gardner
A monkeypox outbreak is emerging in the U.S. and Europe, and at least one country is amping up countermeasure preparedness. Bavarian Nordic has secured a contract with an unnamed European country to supply its smallpox vaccine, called Imvanex in Europe, in response to the emergence of monkeypox cases, the Danish company said Thursday.
Moderna’s recent chief financial officer debacle—in which Jorge Gomez departed on his second day on the job—raised questions about the company’s hiring process given its rush to global biopharma prominence. The most obvious one: How was it possible for Gomez to be hired when he was under investigation by his previous employer, Dentsply Sirona of Charlotte, N.C.
Merck & Co. is plucking a cancer project from the branch of Chinese-based Kelun Pharmaceutical for up to $1.4 billion, but details from the New Jersey-based Big Pharma have been hard to come by. The deal, first disclosed Monday on the Shenzhen stock exchange, has Merck handing over $47 million in upfront cash in exchange for ex-China rights to a “macromolecular tumor project.”