Can­cer Re­search UK launch­es new Lon­don Cen­tre, in­fus­ing £14M in­to bio­ther­a­peu­tics work from lead­ing in­sti­tutes

Some of Lon­don’s most pres­ti­gious re­search in­sti­tutes are com­ing to­geth­er to form a new cen­tre fo­cused on can­cer bio­ther­a­peu­tics, launched with a £14 mil­lion ($18.4 mil­lion) check from Can­cer Re­search UK.

Charles Swan­ton

The group, which will be called Can­cer Re­search UK City of Lon­don Cen­tre, com­pris­es in­ves­ti­ga­tors from Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don, King’s Col­lege Lon­don, Queen Mary Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don and the Fran­cis Crick In­sti­tute. Like some of Can­cer Re­search UK’s oth­er cen­tres across the coun­try, it will be a vir­tu­al en­ti­ty op­er­at­ing out of the part­ners’ premis­es in­stead of one phys­i­cal lo­ca­tion.

Fo­cus­ing on the type can­cer treat­ment based on liv­ing cells — like CAR-T — the coali­tion will of­fer around 14 mil­lion pa­tients the op­por­tu­ni­ty to take part in cut­ting-edge re­search as part of their treat­ment.

“We be­lieve that, in the fu­ture, the bio­ther­a­peu­tics field will trans­form can­cer care. How­ev­er, there are sev­er­al re­search chal­lenges still to tack­le,” said Charles Swan­ton, Can­cer Re­search UK’s chief clin­i­cian. “We need to un­der­stand why some pa­tients re­spond to these new treat­ments while oth­ers don’t, and how to iden­ti­fy which pa­tients might ex­pe­ri­ence harm­ful side ef­fects. Most im­por­tant­ly, we need to op­ti­mise their ac­tiv­i­ty to of­fer more pa­tients ac­cess to these ther­a­pies who may ben­e­fit. With this sub­stan­tial new fund­ing and world-lead­ing ex­per­tise, the Can­cer Re­search UK City of Lon­don Cen­tre is es­pe­cial­ly well placed to de­liv­er on these promis­es.”

Tariq En­ver

Ex­perts from the par­tic­i­pat­ing in­sti­tu­tions will put their knowl­edge of imag­ing, clin­i­cal tri­als and tu­mor evo­lu­tion to work on re­search of all can­cer types, with a fo­cus on child­hood can­cers.

This type of in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tion will set the cen­tre apart, said Tariq En­ver, cen­tre lead and UCL pro­fes­sor in­ves­ti­gat­ing stem cells.

“Our am­bi­tion is for the Cen­tre to stim­u­late fur­ther eco­nom­ic ac­tiv­i­ty in biotech­nol­o­gy in Lon­don as new com­pa­nies are formed, and in­dus­try part­ners move in to trans­late the most promis­ing dis­cov­er­ies in­to mar­ketable ther­a­pies,” he said. “Lon­don’s hos­pi­tals will al­so be­come flag­ship cen­tres for treat­ing pa­tients with these new bi­o­log­i­cal ther­a­pies, set­ting the stan­dard for health­care providers all over the world.”

Bio­mark­er 'roadmap­s' and the fu­ture of can­cer R&D; Cur­tain rais­es on #AS­CO22; Pfiz­er, No­var­tis tack­le drug ac­cess; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

While this was not a week for earth-shattering news, there were certainly a lot of interesting tidbits. If you found this recap helpful, please recommend it to your friends and colleagues. We’ll see you on the other side of the long weekend.

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Keep­ing pres­sure on Am­gen, Mi­rati draws mixed re­views on lat­est cut of KRAS da­ta

As the close runner-up to Amgen’s Lumakras in the KRAS race, any data cut from Mirati’s adagrasib continues to draw scrutiny from analysts. And the latest batch of numbers from ASCO is a decidedly mixed bag.

While a quick comparison suggests that adagrasib spurred slightly more responses and led to a longer overall survival than Lumakras among a group of non-small cell lung cancer patients, its duration of response appears shorter and the safety profile continues to spark concern.

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Ann is one of ViiV Healthcare's newest spokespeople as the retired school administrator speaks up about her HIV status.

GSK's Vi­iV de­buts next evo­lu­tion in HIV med Dova­to cam­paign with new spokes­peo­ple and new mes­sage

When Ann saw the first TV commercials for HIV medicine Dovato, she didn’t see herself represented. So the 74-year-old retired school administrator who’s been living with HIV since 1998, reached out to GSK’s ViiV Healthcare and asked why not?

Now Ann is one of three people starring in ViiV’s latest Dovato campaign called “Detect This.” The next-step evolution in the branded campaign plays on the word “detect” — often used in describing HIV status under control as undetectable — but in this case, uses the word as a directive for people to understand they can use fewer medicines.

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Tran­si­tion to new Eu­ro­pean clin­i­cal tri­als in­fo sys­tem starts slow­ly

At the end of January, the European Medicines Agency officially launched its new clinical trials info system (CTIS), although the migration to the new platform has only really just begun, and sponsors have until the end of January 2023 before all initial trial applications must be submitted through CTIS.

Overall, 56 clinical trial applications have been submitted in CTIS during the first 3 months since the launch of the system on Jan. 31, according to new data posted by the EMA. By comparison, about 4,000 new trials are authorized each year across Europe.

Switzer­land to de­stroy over 600,000 ex­pired dos­es of Mod­er­na Covid vac­cine

As concerns related to uptake and distribution continue to linger, Switzerland is among the first countries that plans to destroy hundreds of thousands of expired and unused Covid-19 vaccine doses.

The European country said it plans to destroy more than 600,000 doses of Moderna’s Spikevax Covid-19 vaccine as the doses have reached their expiration date.

However, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that he’s in the process of throwing 30 million doses in the garbage, exclaiming, “We have a big demand problem.”

Lina Khan, FTC chair (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP Images)

Pile-on over PBMs con­tin­ues with FTC com­ments and a new bi­par­ti­san Sen­ate bill

More than 500 stakeholders sent comments to the FTC on whether the commission should look further into pharma middlemen, known as PBMs, with many of the commenters calling for more federal oversight.

Similar to the critical open comment period in a deadlocked FTC session last February, pharmacies and pharmacy groups are continuing to call out the lack of transparency among the top 3 PBMs, which control about 80% of the market.

Pharma brands are losing their shine with US consumers who are now thinking about the economy and inflation instead of Covid. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Phar­ma brands fade in an­nu­al Har­ris con­sumer vis­i­bil­i­ty poll: Mod­er­na drops off and Pfiz­er dips

As Covid-19 concerns are fading in the US, so is biopharma visibility. The annual Axios Harris Poll survey to determine and rank the 100 most top-of-mind brands in the US finds Moderna, which was No. 3 last year, not on the list at all for 2022, and Pfizer sinking 37 spots.

However, it’s not that Moderna or Pfizer did anything wrong, it’s just that Americans have moved on to other worries beyond Covid.

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HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images)

HHS fin­ish­es off Trump-era rule that would've erased ba­sic FDA regs with­out fre­quent re­views

HHS on Thursday finalized its decision to withdraw a rule, proposed just before former President Donald Trump left office, that would’ve caused thousands of HHS and FDA regulations to automatically expire if they weren’t reviewed within two years, and every 10 years thereafter.

The decision follows the filing of a lawsuit last March, in which several nonprofits alleged that the outgoing administration planted “a ticking timebomb” for HHS, essentially forcing it to devote an enormous amount of resources to the unprecedented and infeasible task of reviewing thousands of regulations regularly.

Levi Garraway, Roche CMO (Genentech)

Roche's CD20xCD3 does­n't beat Gen­mab at ORR, but sets bar for CR da­ta on lym­phoma drug

On its way to potentially becoming the first to market with a CD20xCD3 bispecific for aggressive lymphoma, Big Pharma’s largest R&D spender has some more data to pad its case with an FDA filing slated for later this year.

Roche dropped some more details from a Phase II expansion study of its fixed-duration glofitamab, to be presented at next week’s ASCO annual meeting, in patients with relapsed or refractory (R/R) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The patients had received a median of three prior therapies.

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