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
Airnov provides critical healthcare industries with high-quality, controlled atmosphere packaging, to protect their products from moisture and oxygen. The business has manufacturing facilities in the USA, France, China and India and employs around 700 people.
Takeda of Japan has partnered with Hong Kong-based Hutchmed, gaining the commercial rights to colorectal cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China for $400 million up front, plus $730 million in potential milestone payments. Takeda also will help develop fruquintinib, which can be applied to subtypes of refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, regardless of biomarker status, the companies said.
On April 3, Scangos, who’s been chief executive officer at Vir since the start of 2017, will hand over the reins to Marianne De Backer, Ph.D. De Backer comes over from Bayer, where she currently heads up pharmaceutical strategy, business development and licensing. Alongside her CEO appointment, De Backer is set to join Vir’s board of directors, the company said Wednesday.