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Innovative Strategies in the Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer: A 2023 Recap




USA News Group – One of the more worrying storylines of 2023 was the rising incidence of early-onset pancreatic cancer. As well, the deadly disease showed pancreatic cancer rates rising faster among women, causing increased alarm amongst doctors. Thankfully, 2023 also gave a lot of hope in terms of new treatments for the market that could reach US$36 billion by 2036, such as a potential mRNA vaccine, and other developments from biotech companies to lead into 2024, like Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (NASDAQ:ONCY) (TSX:ONC), Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY), Tango Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:TNGX), RayzeBio, Inc. (NASDAQ:RYZB) and its buyer Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY).

After closing out 2022 with another fast track designation, Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (NASDAQ:ONCY) (TSX:ONC) and its flagship asset pelareorep continues to make strides in the battle against pancreatic cancer. This recognition came after pelareorep plus atezolizumab with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel achieved an impressive objective response rate (ORR) of 69%. The results were enough to garner the support of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), who selected pelareorep to receive the US$5 million Therapeutic Accelerator Award.

“2023 was an outstanding year for Oncolytics and the development of pelareorep as a potential cancer therapy,” said Dr. Matt Coffey, President and CEO of Oncolytics. “To date, we have studied pelareorep in more than 1,100 patients, and it has been shown to be well-tolerated with mild side effects. We believe our cash balance and strong data, supported by our active business development program, position us well for 2024.

Most recently, Oncolytics added accomplished biopharmaceutical executive Pat Andrews to its Board of Directors. She comes with a track record of success in corporate strategy, first-in-class and first-for-the-company new product commercializations and business development, and a resume that includes 17 years with Pfizer leading a $900-million portfolio at the time, and later serving as CEO of Sumitomo Pharma Oncology (SMP), and as the Chief Commercial Officer for Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY), where she led the company through the launch of Jakafi, Incyte’s first commercial product.

“I am honored to join the Oncolytics board at this exciting time for the organization as it advances pelareorep toward registrational studies,” said Ms. Andrews. “Promising recent results from the BRACELET-1 and GOBLET studies suggest that pelareorep has the potential to make an important contribution to cancer care, and I look forward to working with my fellow board members in addition to Dr. Coffey and the Executive Team to execute Oncolytics’ clinical and corporate development plans.”

Andrews’s previous employer Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY) also continues to be active in the pancreatic cancer space itself. Like Oncolytics Biotech, Incyte is also involved with PanCAN in bringing potentially pioneering treatment options to patients.

Now, the market is watching out for the potential future approval of Incyte’s INCA-33890 for pancreatic cancer, which is currently in Phase I. INCA-33890 is a novel PD-1x TGFbR2 bispecific antibody designed to conditionally antagonize TGF signaling in primary immune cells co-expressing PD-1.

Through a licensing deal with Swedish pharmaceutical company Medivir, Tango Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:TNGX) received FDA clearance on its Investigational New Drug application for TNG348 back in September 2023. Now, in early 2024, Tango has dosed the first patient for the drug in a phase 1/2 clinical study. Tango licensed TNG348 from Medivir back in 2020.

TNG348 is a novel USP1 inhibitor for the treatment of BRCA1/2-mutant and other homologous recombination deficiency (HRD)+ cancers. HRD+ cancers, including BRCA1/2 mutations, represent 5% of pancreatic cancers.

“The preclinical data generated by Tango for TNG348 is promising and dosing the first patient in a clinical study is encouraging for patients with HRD+ cancers,” said Jens Lindberg, CEO of Medivir. “The efforts undertaken by Tango to develop TNG348 into a clinical-staged drug are impressive and we will continue to follow the clinical development of TNG348 with great anticipation.”

Closing out 2023, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) struck a deal for roughly $4.1 billion to buy RayzeBio, Inc. (NASDAQ:RYZB), with the highlight of the deal being RYZ101, which is being tested in late-stage studies for a rare type of pancreatic cancer. It’s a drug that uses radioactive particles to kill tumor cells.

“[The RayzeBio acquisition] further strengthens our growth opportunities in the back half of the decade and beyond,” said Chris Boerner, newly-appointed CEO of BMY.

“Acquiring RayzeBio’s differentiated actinium-based radiopharmaceutical platform will establish Bristol Myers Squibb’s presence in one of the most promising and fastest-growing new modalities for the treatment of patients with solid tumors – delivering radioactive payloads to cancer cells in a targeted manner,” added Samit Hirawat, M.D., Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Drug Development of Bristol Myers Squibb. “In addition, RayzeBio’s platform has the potential to be a significant IND engine, generating several therapeutic candidates in the future by leveraging our global drug development capabilities and infrastructure.”

Article Source: https://usanewsgroup.com/2023/10/02/the-most-undervalued-oncolytics-company-on-the-nasdaq/

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