Latest From Mark Ratner
Higher success rates in rare cancers, where biomarkers can better direct therapy, characterize the oncology treatment landscape. Deal-making is favoring alliances over acquisitions as drugmakers focus on establishing the clinical benefit of new targets, particularly for rare indications.
The 2021 collaboration between Abbvie and Regenxbio to develop an anti-VEGF gene therapy for chronic retinal diseases is a noteworthy deal in the gene therapy space. But for both clinical and commercial reasons, it is a one-off opportunity and not an indicator of the overall potential of gene therapies to address eye diseases. Interest in optogenetics, however, which is the introduction of light-sensing genes into cells in the eye to restore vison, may be on the rise.
Brazil has established an accelerated pathway for approval of drugs for ultra-rare diseases, encouraging development activity – but the definition of qualifying drugs is narrow. Expansion to include more treatments could boost clinical trials activity and companies’ overall development presence.
A new publication offers up proof of concept that the genetic signatures of microorganisms found in blood and tumor tissue could improve precision medicine cancer diagnostics. The study also bolsters the notion that targeting the microbiome could lead to innovative cancer therapies.
A better understanding of heme trafficking could lead to drug targets in metabolic diseases, anemias, porphyrias, hemolytic diseases such as sickle cell disease – even parasitic infections.
A series of basic research insights around the cell death process called ferroptosis could form the underpinnings of a new class of treatments aimed at drug resistant tumors.