NEW YORK, February 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Immuno-oncology is one of the fastest growing and promising areas of cancer research. It is the genesis behind the rapidly expanding field of precision-focused cancer drug development. Immuno-oncology therapeutics is transforming the way cancer is being treated due to its ability to harness and activate a patient's own immune system and stimulate it to attack cancer cells or by introducing immune system components into the body. While some immuno-oncology treatments have the potential to be effective as monotherapies, others may be more effective when combined with other treatments. Tapimmune, Inc. (NASDAQ: TPIV), AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN), Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK), Juno Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: JUNO) are all leading the charge in the race to develop groundbreaking treatments for a myriad of cancers.
Encouraging results generated by some of these companies demonstrating positive results in late-stage cancer patients have raised hopes for longer-term survival of people who have advanced disease and otherwise have run out of options. According to a research report conducted by Markets and Markets the global cancer immunotherapy market is expected to reach USD 119.39 Billion by 2021 from USD 61.9 Billion in 2016, at a CAGR of 14.0% from 2016 to 2021. Factors such as increasing incidence of cancer and rising healthcare expenditure are driving the growth of this market.
TapImmune, Inc. (NASDAQ: TPIV) is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company specializing in the development of innovative peptide and gene-based immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer and metastatic disease. On February 15th, the company announced that, "its lead cancer vaccine candidate, TPIV 200, received a positive recommendation from an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) to continue dosing triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients in an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial."
According to the company, "the planned safety review was performed when enrollment had reached 25 percent benchmark (20/80 patients). The four-arm trial is designed to test the safety, dosing level and optimal treatment regimen of TPIV 200, the company's novel five-peptide vaccine designed to elicit a long-lasting adaptive immune response against TNBC cells, involving both "helper" and "killer" T-cells. The study tests two vaccine dose levels with and without cyclophosphamide priming of the immune system and will monitor for sustained immune response and relapse-free survival for three years. TapImmune will be enrolling the remaining patients at 12 clinical centers in the U.S. with enrollment completion targeted for the end of 2017."
TapImmune, Inc. on December 30th, 2016 in a year end update, the company announced that, "a Mayo Clinic-sponsored trial evaluating TPIV 200 as a standalone agent for patients with triple negative breast cancer is anticipated to begin in 2017. The study is expected to enroll 280 patients and is fully funded thanks to a $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. A trial sponsored by Memorial Sloan Kettering, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, is treating patients with ovarian cancer who are platinum resistant (meaning they've failed chemo and have few options moving forward with therapy). This exciting study is testing a combination of TPIV 200 with AstraZeneca's checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab. The combination of these two cancer immunotherapies could have a more significant effect on tumors than either drug alone."
AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) announced positive results from its Phase III OlympiAD trial comparing LYNPARZA™ tablets to physician's choice of a standard of care chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer harboring germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. 1 Patient treated with LYNPARZA showed a statistically-significant and clinically-meaningful improvement in progression-free survival compared with those who received chemotherapy (capecitabine, vinorelbine or eribulin). "These results are positive news for patients with BRCA-mutated metastatic breast cancer, a disease with a high unmet need, and are the first positive Phase III data for a PARP inhibitor beyond ovarian cancer. This is highly encouraging for the development of our broad portfolio which aims to treat multiple cancers by targeting DNA damage response pathways," said Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca, Sean Bohen.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) announced the submission of a supplemental Biologics License Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for BLINCYTO® to include overall survival data from the Phase 3 TOWER study, supporting the conversion of BLINCYTO's accelerated approval to full approval. The sBLA also includes new data supporting the treatment of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The application aims to broaden BLINCYTO's indication for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL. "Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is one of the most aggressive B-cell malignancies, and adult patients who relapse or are refractory to treatment often go through multiple lines of therapy," said Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Amgen, Sean E. Harper.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) announced the launch of ILÚM Health Solutions, which provides enterprise-wide disease management tools and services to enable improved outcomes for patients with infectious diseases, such as sepsis and pneumonia, while supporting antimicrobial stewardship initiatives. ILÚM operates independently from Merck's pharmaceutical and vaccine products businesses as part of Merck's Healthcare Services & Solutions group. "We are pleased to offer ILÚM in the United States as a way to strategically partner with health systems to fight infectious diseases and combat the threat of antimicrobial resistance," said Managing Director, Guy Eiferman. "It is an important step for our Healthcare Services and Solutions business, and complements Merck's company-wide efforts to develop and deliver innovative approaches to address some of today's most pressing health issues."
Juno Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: JUNO) is building a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. Founded on the vision that the use of human cells as therapeutic entities will drive one of the next important phases in medicine, Juno is developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptor and high-affinity T cell receptor technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer. Juno is developing multiple cell-based product candidates to treat a variety of B-cell malignancies as well as solid tumors.
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