As I've referred to in previous articles, this time of the year the spotlight turns to the June ASCO meetings in Chicago, IL. ASCO stands for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is the premier event for oncology professionals including researchers, physicians and pharmaceutical companies. The message from ASCO is, "Collaborating to Conquer Cancer."
Today for your reading and due diligence consideration, I have included some ASCO abstract data. Investors should use this information to see which bio pharma companies are progressing nicely with their experimental drugs, and which might not be. Using this information could give investors better due diligence to make a decision whether to buy, sell or sell short the stocks of these companies.
Furthermore, the abstract data can also give investors an idea of what to expect when some of these companies actually present the full data in a spoken and/or general poster presentation.
For more specific information, times and dates for full poster presentations, please visit here.
Ariad Pharma (ARIA)
Abstract # 6503
Sub Category: Leukemia Authors: Jorge E. Cortes, Dong-Wook Kim, Javier Pinilla-Ibarz, Ronald Paquette, Philipp D. le Coutre, Charles Chuah, Franck E. Nicolini, Jane Apperley, Hanna Jean Khoury, Moshe Talpaz, John F DiPersio, Daniel J DeAngelo, Delphine Rea, Elisabetta Abruzzese, Martin C Müller, Michele Baccarani, Carlo Gambacorti-Passerini, Christopher D. Turner, Frank G. Haluska, Hagop Kantarjian Title: PACE: A pivotal phase II trial of ponatinib in patients with CML and Ph+ALL resistant or intolerant to dasatinib or nilotinib, or with the T315I mutation.
Background: Ponatinib is a potent, oral, pan-BCR-ABL inhibitor active against the native enzyme and all tested resistant mutants, including the uniformly resistant T315I mutation. Methods: The PACE (Ponatinib Ph+ALL and CML Evaluation) trial started Sept 2010. Pts with refractory CML (CP, AP or BP) or Ph+ALL resistant or intolerant (R/I) to dasatinib or nilotinib or with T315I received 45 mg ponatinib once daily. The trial is ongoing; enrollment completed Sept 2011. Data as of 17 Jan 2012 are reported. Results: 449 pts were enrolled, 5 of whom were ineligible (post-imatinib, non-T315I) but treated. Median age was 59 (18-94) yrs; 53% male. Diagnoses were: 271 CP-CML (R/I=207; T315I=64); 79 AP-CML (R/I=60; T315I=19); 94 BP/ALL (R/I=48; T315I=46). Median time from diagnosis to ponatinib was 6 yrs. Prior TKIs included imatinib (96%), dasatinib (85%), nilotinib (66%), bosutinib (7%); 94% failed ≥2 prior TKIs, 59% failed ≥3 prior TKIs. 83% had a history of resistance to dasatinib or nilotinib; 12% were purely intolerant. In CP, best response to most recent dasatinib or nilotinib was MCyR 25%. Frequent mutations confirmed at entry: 29% T315I, 8% F317L, 4% E255K, 4 % F359V, 3% G250E. Median follow-up was 6.6 months. Response rates are presented in the table. Overall, 64% remained on therapy (77% CP). Most frequent reasons for discontinuation were progression (12%) and AE (10%). Most common drug related AEs were thrombocytopenia (33%), rash (33%), dry skin (26%). Conclusions: Ponatinib has substantial activity in heavily pretreated pts and those with refractory T315I. Response rates continue to improve with longer follow-up. Multivariate analyses of predictors of outcome will be presented.
n Response to ponatinib / N evaluable (%)
(footer)*Primary endpoints: MCyR in CP; MHR in AP, BP/Ph+ALL (baseline MHR excluded).[/footer]
Abstract No. 7531
Author(s): Gregory J. Riely, Julie R. Brahmer, David Planchard, Lucio Crinò, Robert Charles Doebele, Luis Alberto Mas Lopez, Scott N. Gettinger, Christian Schumann, Xiaoyun Li, Barbara McCormick Atkins, Scot Ebbinghaus, Rafael Rosell; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France; Division of Medical Oncology, S. Maria della Misericordia Hospital, Perugia, Italy; University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO; INEN, Lima, Peru; Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; Klinik für Innere Medizin II, Uniklinikum Ulm, Ulm, Germany; Merck, North Wales, PA; Merck & Co. Inc., North Wales, PA; Merck Research Laboratories, North Wales, PA; Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain; Pangaea Biotech, USP Institut Universitari Dexeus, Barcelona, Spain.
Background: Mutations in KRAS are present in ~25% of patients with advanced NSCLC. Preclinical data support the role of mammalian target of rapamycin in KRAS mediated oncogenesis. Ridaforolimus is an inhibitor of mTOR which has been shown to have efficacy in advanced endometrial cancer and soft tissue sarcoma. Everolimus, another mTOR inhibitor was previously evaluated in unselected patients with advanced NSCLC and found to have a response rate <5%. We hypothesized that by enrichment for patients with NSCLC and KRAS mutations, treatment with ridaforolimus would be associated with prolonged stable disease relative to available standard treatments for NSCLC. Methods: Patients with stage IIIB/IV non-small cell lung cancer with KRAS mutation who had received prior chemotherapy for NSCLC began treatment with oral ridaforolimus 40 mg once daily on a 5 day/week schedule. After 8 weeks, patients with >30% tumor shrinkage remained on ridaforolimus and patients with >20% tumor growth discontinued treatment. Patients with stable disease were randomized 1:1 to placebo or ridaforolimus. The primary endpoint of the study was progression-free survival after randomization. Results: 79 patients were enrolled (40 women, median age 58 [range 28-85]). The overall response rate (CR+PR) at 8 weeks was 1/79 (1%, 95% CI 0-7%). 28 patients with stable disease at 8 weeks were randomized to ridaforolimus or placebo. Median PFS based on investigator assessment from randomization was significantly longer with ridaforolimus (4 months) than placebo (2 months, p=0.013, HR 0.36). Median OS from randomization was 18 months in the ridaforolimus treated arm and 5 months in the placebo treated group, (HR 0.46, p=0.09). The most common grade ≥3 adverse events were fatigue (10%), mucositis/stomatitis (10%), pneumonia (10%), dyspnea (9%), diarrhea (6%), and hyperglycemia (6%). Conclusions: In patients with KRAS mutant NSCLC who had stable disease after 8 weeks of ridaforolimus, ridaforolimus was associated with prolonged progression-free survival. Further evaluation of ridaforolimus in this patient population is warranted.
Threshold Pharma (THLD)
EMBARGOED UNTIL (EASTERN TIME): 6:00PM Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Sub Category: Leukemia Authors: Marina Konopleva, Damian Handisides, Gustavo A. Lorente, Juliana M. Benito, Mary Ann Richie, Gautam Borthakur, Elias Jabbour, Stefan Faderl, Jorge E. Cortes, Stewart Kroll, Michael Andreeff, Hagop Kantarjian, Deborah A. Thomas Title: Phase I study of TH-302, a hypoxia-activated cytotoxic prodrug, in subjects with advanced leukemias.
Background: TH-302 is a 2-nitroimidazole prodrug of the DNA alkylator, bromo-isophosphoramide mustard designed to be selectively activated in hypoxic conditions. Preclinical data in mice with ALL have demonstrated marked expansion of hypoxia in areas of marrow leukemia infiltrates (Benito et al., PlosOne, in press). TH-302 also exhibited specific hypoxia-dependent cytotoxicity when tested against primary ALL and AML samples in vitro. Based on these findings, a phase 1 study of TH-302 was designed for advanced leukemias. Methods: Eligibility: ECOG ≤ 3, relapsed/refractory leukemias for which no standard therapy options were available, and acceptable hepatorenal function. A standard 3+3 dose escalation design was used with 40% dose increments. TH-302 was administered IV over 30-60 minutes daily on Days 1-5 of a 21-day cycle. The objectives were to determine the MTD and PK profile of TH-302 with this schedule and to assess preliminary clinical activity of TH-302. Results: 34 subjects with previously treated AML (n=26), ALL (n=6) or CML in blast phase (n=1) received TH-302 at doses of 120 (n=4), 170 (n=4), 240 (n=3), 330 (n=3), 460 (n=16) or 550 (n=4) mg/m². No skin or mucosal toxicity was noted in participants treated with TH-302 doses ≤240 mg/m2. At 330 mg/m2, grade 2 dermatological toxicities included skin ulcer (n=1) and hand/foot syndrome (n=1). Grade 2 mucositis (n=3) and grade 2 skin toxicity (e.g. skin rash, skin ulcers; n=3) were reported at 460 mg/m2; none were dose-limiting. Two of 3 evaluable subjects treated at the 550 mg/m2 cohort experienced DLTs of grade 3 esophagitis. Eight subjects had stable disease or better after 1 cycle. One ALL subject (at 120 mg/m2) cleared marrow blasts with persistent neutropenia. One AML subject (at 550 mg/m2) achieved CRp after 1 cycle with resolution of leukemia cutis. Conclusions: TH-302 administered daily for 5 consecutive days every 3 weeks is well-tolerated with increased incidence of skin and mucosal toxicity at higher dose levels. Clinical activity has been noted with a few objective responses, but majority of cytoreductions in the AML subset were transient. Clinical trials combining TH-302 with various chemotherapeutics with established efficacy in AML and ALL are planned.
EMBARGOED UNTIL (EASTERN TIME): 6:00PM Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Sub Category: Soft Tissue Authors: Sant P. Chawla, Denise K. Reinke, Sam Saks, Stew Kroll, William D. Tap Title: Randomized phase III, multicenter, open-label study comparing TH-302 in combination with doxorubicin versus doxorubicin alone in subjects with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
Background: A hypoxic microenvironment characterizes solid tumors including soft tissue sarcoma and is associated with chemotherapy resistance. TH-302, a prodrug of the alkylating agent bromo-isophosphoramide mustard (BR-IPM) is reduced in hypoxic environments, releasing Br-IPM. Combining D with TH-302 should effectively target both the normoxic and hypoxic regions of STS. TH-302 was investigated with full-dose D (75 mg/m2). The regimen was well tolerated, >60% completed 6 cycles. DLTs at higher doses were infection with neutropenia and grade 4 thrombocytopenia. The efficacy was higher than generally reported with single agent D (Sleijfer, The Oncologist, 2005). At MTD (75 mg/m2 D and 300 mg/m2 TH-302) best response were 2 (2%) CR, 30 (34%) PR, 43 (48%) SD. Median PFS and OS were 6.7 and 17.5 months, respectively. Based upon these data, a study (NCT01440088) is ongoing to assess the benefit of adding TH-302 to the standard D as first-line therapy of STS. Methods: The randomized (1:1) phase III study of TH-302 (300 mg/m2) with D versus D alone was initiated September 2011. Target goal is 450 patients. TH-302 is administered IV over 30-60 minutes on Days 1 and 8 (21-day cycle). D (75 mg/m2, bolus or continuous) is administered Day 1 starting 2-4 hrs after TH-302 when used in combination. Patients receiving TH-302 plus D without progression after 6 cycles may continue on TH-302 alone. Key eligibility criteria: locally advanced unresectable or metastatic STS untreated with chemotherapy (adjuvant allowed), ECOG 0/1, measurable disease (RECIST 1.1) and adequate hematologic, hepatic, renal function. A FDA Special Protocol Agreement was reached on study design and analyses. Primary efficacy endpoint is overall survival (OS) comparison of the combination vs D. The study is designed to detect a 40% improvement in OS with 85% power and one-sided alpha of 2.5%. An interim futility PFS analysis is scheduled after 113 PFS events. Significant improvement in PFS (one-sided p < 0.10) is required to continue. A further analysis for early efficacy stoppage is scheduled after 175 OS events. IDMC will monitor safety and efficacy.
Seattle Genetics (SGEN)
EMBARGOED UNTIL (EASTERN TIME): 6:00PM Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Sub Category: New Targets, New Technologies Authors: Jeff Porter Sharman, Jerome H. Goldschmidt, John M. Burke, Beth A. Hellerstedt, Kristi McIntyre, Christopher A. Yasenchak, Thomas E. Boyd, Robert L. Ruxer, Dipti Patel-Donnelly, Fadi S. Braiteh, Andres Forero-Torres, Michael A. Savin, Tina Marie Albertson, McKesson Specialty Health/US Oncology Research Title: CD30 expression in nonlymphomatous malignancies.
Background: CD30 is commonly expressed in Hodgkin lymphoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), and testicular embryonal carcinoma. Expression of CD30 in other solid tumors and non-lymphomatous malignancies has been reported but not investigated systematically. CD30 is the target of brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris), an antibody drug conjugate that is approved for the treatment of patients with relapsed HL and systemic ALCL after failure of other therapies. A study was initiated to determine the incidence of CD30 expression in non-lymphomatous malignancies and to identify patients who may be candidates for treatment with brentuximab vedotin. Methods: Patients with non-lymphomatous malignancies were eligible for screening if they were relapsed or refractory to previous therapy or had no effective treatment options available. Archived tissue from solid tumors was tested for CD30 expression by immunohistochemistry; fresh bone marrow or blood samples from multiple myeloma or leukemia patients were tested by flow cytometry. Patients were considered CD30 positive and eligible for a companion treatment protocol with brentuximab vedotin if ≥10% of malignant cells stained positive by IHC or ≥20% by flow cytometry. Results: At this interim analysis, a total of 875 patients have been tested for CD30 expression: 95% had solid tumors, 3% had leukemia, and 2% had multiple myeloma. Twenty-two patients (2.5%) were CD30 positive, including 7 of 94 patients with ovarian cancer (7%), 5 of 20 with melanoma (25%), 2 of 5 with mesothelioma (40%), 1 of 4 with skin squamous cell carcinoma (25%), 2 of 41 with triple negative breast cancer (5%), 1 of 37 with pancreatic cancer (3%), 1 of 26 with small cell lung cancer (4%), and 1 of 3 with anal cancer (33%), and thyroid carcinoma (33%). One patient was identified with CD30-positive mast cell leukemia. In positive patients, the percent of CD30-positive malignant cells varied between 10 and 80%. Conclusions: CD30 expression was observed in multiple types of non-lymphomatous malignancies, thereby identifying additional populations who may be candidates for treatment with a CD30-targeted ADC, such as brentuximab vedotin. A companion clinical trial with brentuximab vedotin is currently ongoing.
Galena Pharma (GALE)
EMBARGOED UNTIL (EASTERN TIME): 6:00PM Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Sub Category: Immunotherapy and Biologic Therapy Authors: Raetasha Sheavette Dabney, Diane F Hale, Timothy J Vreeland, Guy T. Clifton, Alan K. Sears, Ritesh Patil, Sathibalan Ponniah, Nathan M. Shumway, George Earl Peoples, Elizabeth Ann Mittendorf Title: Safety and long-term maintenance of anti-HER2 immunity following booster inoculations of the E75 breast cancer vaccine.
Background: We have completed accrual and are in the follow up portion of phase I/II clinical trials evaluating the E75 HER2 peptide vaccine. E75 has been proven safe, capable of stimulating HER2 immunity, and effective in decreasing breast cancer recurrence rates. During the conduct of this trial, it was noted that E75-specific immunity waned after the Primary Vaccine Series (PVS) which corresponded with late recurrences. To maintain long-term immunity, a voluntary booster program was started. Here we present analysis of the booster inoculations. Methods: The trial enrolled node-positive or high-risk, node-negative breast cancer patients (pts) with tumors expressing any level of HER2 (IHC 1-3+). HLA-A2/A3+ pts comprised the vaccine group, HLA-A2/A3- pts were followed as the control group. The VG received 4-6 monthly inoculations of E75+GM-CSF. Volunteer booster program pts received inoculations every 6 months after the PVS. Pts were monitored for toxicities, in vivo responses by local reactions (LR) and DTH, and in vitro responses measured by enumeration of E75 specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Results: 53 pts received at least 1 booster, 34 received 2, 24 three, 20 four, 12 five, and 8 at least 6. 24% of pts had no local toxicity, 73% Grade 1 (G1), 3% G2. 74% had no systemic toxicity, 35% G1, 1% G2. LRs increased significantly from the initial vaccine (R1) during PVS to each booster (R1: 59.5±3.1 v B1: 89.2±3.3, p<0.001; v B2: 95.15±5, p<0.001; v B3: 86.63±5.5, p<0.001; v B4: 83.26±4.6, p=<0.001; v B5: 80.67±6.7, p=0.006; v B6: 78.75±9.4, p=0.04). Dimer values increased from the end of PVS to each post-booster value (pre B1:1.29±0.25 v post B1: 1.46±0.38; post B2: 1.41±0.4; post B3: 1.84±0.35; post B4: 2.23±0.4; post B5:1.94±0.31; post B6: 2.73±0.09, p=0.02). At median 60 months, the recurrence rate for BG was 3.8% vs 18.9% in the CG (p=0.01). Conclusions: Booster inoculations are well-tolerated and appear to assist in the maintenance of long term peptide-specific immunity. Boosted pts have improved recurrence rates. Based on the success of this program, we have incorporated the practice of booster inoculations in our current cancer vaccine trials.
Gilead Sciences (GILD)
EMBARGOED UNTIL (EASTERN TIME): 6:00PM Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Sub Category: Leukemia Authors: Richard R. Furman, Jacqueline Claudia Barrientos, Jeff Porter Sharman, Sven De Vos, John Leonard, Steven E. Coutre, Marshall T. Schreeder, Nina D. Wagner-Johnston, Thomas E. Boyd, Nathan Hale Fowler, Ian W. Flinn, Ralph V. Boccia, Leanne Holes, Brian Joseph Lannutti, Dave Johnson, Thomas Michael Jahn, Langdon L. Miller Title: A phase I/II study of the selective phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-delta (PI3Kδ) inhibitor, GS-1101 (CAL-101), with ofatumumab in patients with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Background: PI3Kδ is expressed in cells of hematopoietic origin where it regulates the survival and proliferation of malignant B-cells. GS-1101 is an orally bioavailable, small-molecule inhibitor that selectively targets PI3Kδ and is highly active in patients with hematologic malignancies. Methods: This Phase 1/2 study evaluated repeated 28-day cycles of GS‑1101 in combination with ofatumumab. GS-1101 (150mg BID) was co-administered with a total of 12 infusions of ofatumumab over 24 weeks (300mg initial dose either on Day 1 or Day 2 (relative to the first dose of GS-1101), followed 1 week later by 1,000mg weekly for 7 doses, followed 4 weeks later by 1,000mg every 4 weeks for 4 doses). Thereafter, each subjects received single-agent GS‑1101 as long as the subject was benefitting. Results: Accrual is complete with 21 subjects enrolled and 11 evaluable. Six subjects started ofatumumab treatment on Day 1 and 5 on Day 2. Median [range] age was 63 [54‑76] years. The majority (9/11; 82%) of patients had bulky adenopathy. The median [range] number of prior therapies was 3 [1‑6], including prior exposure to alkylating agents (10/11; 90%), rituximab (9/11; 82%), purine analogs (8/11; 72%), alemtuzumab (3/11; 28%) and/or ofatumumab (2/11;18%). At the data cutoff, the median [range] treatment duration was 5 [0‑7] cycles. Almost all subjects (9/11;82%) experienced marked and rapid reductions in lymphadenopathy within the first 2 cycles. The lymphocyte mobilization that is expected with PI3Kδ inhibition was significantly reduced in magnitude and duration and persisted past Cycle 1 in only 1 patient. Early follow up data support a favorable safety profile and confirm a lack of clinically significant myelosuppression. Elevated baseline levels of CCL3, CCL4, CXCL13, and TNFa were significantly reduced after 28 days of treatment. Conclusions: GS-1101/ofatumumab offers a well-tolerated noncytotoxic combination regimen with substantial activity in previously treated patient with bulky adenopathy. Data on the complete cohort of 21 subjects will be presented.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational and entertainment use only and should not be construed as professional investment advice, but rather my opinions as a writer only. Always do you own complete due diligence before buying and selling any stock.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.