Author Interviews, Bristol Myers Squibb, Cancer Research, Pharmaceutical Companies / 19.03.2020 Interview with: Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D. President and CEO Compugen What is the background for this announcement? Would you discuss Compugen’s underlying cancer hypothesis regarding the targeting of multiple checkpoint pathways to enhance tumor response? Response: Cancer immunotherapy has revolutionized the landscape for cancer treatments by providing new drug options leading to lasting benefits for patients. Yet, response rates vary greatly across different cancer indications, leaving a significant unmet medical need for many patients and a continuing challenge to discover new biological pathways that can serve for the development of new cancer immunotherapies for non-responsive and refractory patients. Using a computational approach which is designed to discover new biological pathways and drug targets, we identified PVRIG as a novel immune checkpoint and a newly discovered inhibitory pathway in the DNAM axis. Our hypothesis is that PVRIG and TIGIT (another inhibitory pathway discovered by us and others) are two parallel and complementary inhibitory pathways in the DNAM axis and that in certain tumor types and patient populations, there may be a need to block both PVRIG and TIGIT in order to enhance anti-tumor immune responses. Moreover, reported molecular intersections between the DNAM axis and the PD-1 pathway, the most prevalent pathway targeted by approved immunotherapies, suggest that there is a linkage between these three pathways. As such, our PVRIG inhibitor may work in synergy with PD-1 and TIGIT inhibitors, suggesting that various drug combinations may be required to address these three pathways based on their dominance in different cancer patients and cancer indications. With this recently announced Phase 1/2 triple combination study, we will be directly testing our hypothesis of an intersection between the three parallel immune checkpoint pathways – PVRIG, TIGIT and PD-1 – and that the simultaneous blockade of these pathways has the potential to synergistically enhance anti-tumor immune response and expand the reach of cancer immunotherapy to patients non-responsive or refractory to approved immunotherapies.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Bristol Myers Squibb, Rheumatology / 26.06.2019 Interview with: Sean Connolly, Ph.D. Director of Non-Registrational Data Generation Study Director for ASCORE Bristol-Myers Squibb What is the background for this study? Response: ASCORE is a two-year, prospective multicenter study to observe retention and response rates of moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients receiving ORENCIA® (abatacept), administered subcutaneously via a pre-filled syringe, in routine clinical practice. Findings shared at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2019) are the results from the first 12 months. An important objective of our development program is to understand how well we can replicate findings from our clinical trials among a real-world patient population. In the case of ASCORE, which looked at approximately 3,000 patients, both bio-naïve and patients receiving later-line therapies, these data add to the body of research that may help inform physicians treating patients with RA. Patients participating in ASCORE were divided into two distinct cohorts at the outset of the study: bio-naïve and patients previously administered one or more biologic agents. The primary endpoint is to estimate the rentention rate of patients in each cohort over a 24-month period. Furthermore, ASCORE examines the patient populations across ten countries to understand factors including: how ORENCIA is prescribed, characteristics of patients from each country (socio-demographic data, medical history, co-morbidities, etc.), and population health statistics within each country. This sub-analysis is factored into patient response to treatment across both cohorts, which may help physicians better understand how and why certain populations demonstrate a specific retention rate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bristol Myers Squibb, Rheumatology, Smoking / 24.10.2018 Interview with: Pr Gilles Boire, M.D., M. ScService de rhumatologie Département de médecine Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé Université de Sherbrooke What is the background for this study? Response: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients are heterogeneous at initial presentation, in response to treatments and according to their outcomes. No clinical features and very few biomarkers, except autoantibodies such as anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptides/Proteins (CCP), identify patients with divergent prognostic trajectories. To help improve early prognostic classification, we initiated 20 years ago the single center longitudinal observational Early Undifferentiated PolyArthritis (EUPA) study of consecutive patients presenting with recent-onset inflammatory polyarthritis, 90% of which fulfill classification criteria for RA at baseline. Our registry includes 739 very early RA patients (median symptom duration 3.6 months), rapidly treated to joint remission (i.e. 0/66 swollen joint) and followed over 5 years. Each patient visit is linked to biosamples and to sequential radiographs scored according to the modified Sharp/van der Heijde method. As we had the clinical impression that clinical features of recruited patients were evolving, we compared patients from 3 periods (1998-2004; 2005-2010; 2011-2017).  (more…)