3 Things In Biotech, July 14: Spiking Some Good News

by: Zach Hartman

Takeda sticks the landing in post-transplant myeloma.

Advaxis pulls out of its tailspin.

Genmab pulls together some early tech from Immatics.

Welcome to another edition of "3 Things In Biotech," a daily digest dedicated to helping you keep pace with the fast-moving world of pharmaceutical and biotechnology research.

Takeda sticks the landing in post-transplant myeloma

Company: Takeda (OTCPK:TKPYY)

Therapy: Ixazomib

Disease: Multiple myeloma

News: TKPYY announced top-line findings from its TOURMALINE-MM3 study, which is assessing maintenance therapy with the oral proteasome inhibitor ixazomib in patients with multiple myeloma after a stem cell transplant, which is a common first-line approach for the disease. The study met its primary endpoint of improving progression-free survival over placebo, and we can expect to see full data at ASH 2018.

Looking forward: Very good news for Takeda, which can further shore up its proteasome inhibitor portfolio (it already has the standard entry bortezomib, branded Velcade). One problem with the two main proteasome inhibitors is that they require intravenous delivery. Ixazomib is an oral medication, which is preferred by many patients. Moreover, being orally bioavailable means you have a better chance of taking advantage of maintenance therapy, in theory. This is where you attempt to keep the disease under control by continuous dosing of the drug for a prolonged period of time. I'm very glad to hear about this news!

Advaxis pulls out of its tailspin

Company: Advaxis (ADXS) and AstraZeneca (AZN)

Therapy: Axalimogene filolisbac

Disease: HPV-positive cancers

News: ADXS announced that its jointly conducted phase 1/2 trial with AZN had its clinical hold lifted. This study is assessing the safety and tolerability of ADXS's attenuated listeria therapy axalimogene filolisbac in combination with the PD-L1 antibody durvalumab. The trial was put on hold back in early March due to a patient death.

Looking forward: This is a small recovery scientifically from the news earlier this week that ADXS pulled its marketing authorization application with the EMA for axalimogene filolisbac. However, it definitely removes an overhang that has perplexed and confused shareholders. Now we move forward to see if the combination actually has any signals of efficacy!

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Genmab pulls together some early tech from Immatics

Company: Genmab (GEN)

Therapy: Various

Disease: Various

News: GEN announced that it has entered into a research and licensing collaboration with Immatics Biotechnologies to develop its bispecific antibody technology into products for cancer therapy.

Looking forward: Recall that "bispecific" antibodies are those that target two different pieces of protein at the same time, either on the same molecule or on two different molecules. The first approved bispecific was Amgen's (AMGN) blinatumomab, which pulls together CD3 (on T cells) and CD19 (on B cells, including leukemia cells) to promote an immune reaction. This is an exciting, dynamic field of research, and GEN has an interesting opportunity to get in on the ground floor with this collab.

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Disclosure: I am/we are long ADXS. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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