The BCMA frenzy: Tracking the 37 drugs around the world racing to overtake bluebird bio and Celgene
Bluebird bio’s bb2121 is sitting on top of a volcano of clinical rivalry aimed at BCMA.
Currently in an advanced clinical trial, Nick Leschly’s biotech is in a vulnerable lead position as they hunt first mover advantage. In cancer R&D, developers can move fast. And coming in a close second can still position you for success, as Merck found out with PD-1 and Kite/Gilead proved with CAR-T.
But there’s no end of appetite among developers willing to come in much, much later. A whole new group is coming out of China that could end up commoditizing each of these fields.
To get a better lay of the global landscape here, I asked Jun Tang at the Cancer Research Institute — who’s been running a fascinating effort to stay on top of the full explosion of I/O activity — to scrape the database to see what’s actually in the clinic. He discovered that there are 38 clinical-stage BCMA-targeted agents in development — 27 CAR-Ts, 6 CD-3 targeted bispecifics, 3 antibody-drug conjugates and a single novel cell therapy and monoclonal antibody.
You can see the full chart below.
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