ASH: Tessa Therapeutics' next-gen cell therapy clears four patients' tumors in early study – Endpoints News

Tessa Therapeutics is doing CAR-T a bit differently. After reading out some positive — albeit early — results back in May showing their virus-specific T cells (VSTs) achieved three partial responses in patients with CD30-positive lymphomas, the company now says the fuller picture looks even brighter.
TT11x, Tessa’s “off the shelf” CD30.CAR-modified Epstein-Barr virus-specific T-cell (EBVST) therapy, achieved a 77.8% overall response rate (7 of 9 patients) in a Phase I trial, the Singapore-based company announced at this year’s ASH conference. What’s more, four of those seven patients saw a complete response, Tessa said.
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Last fall, as their Covid-19 vaccine crossed the finish line, Moderna unveiled plans to take its newly proven mRNA platform and use it to effectively change how the world blocks humanity’s most persistent viral foes.
In addition to their pre-existing vaccine programs, executives announced new ones for flu, where vaccines have chronically underperformed, and HIV, which has eluded every inoculation effort over nearly 40 years. In flu, the other mRNA vaccine companies — BioNTech (with Pfizer), Translate Bio (under Sanofi), and CureVac (with GSK) — all had similar ambitions, hoping to make shots that were as high as 80% effective.
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The bulk of this week’s report is brought to you by Endpoints editors Nicole DeFeudis and Max Gelman, who are covering for me as I take a few days off after the big Women in Biopharma R&D event. We are really proud of both the special report and the live panel, which featured some great stories from trailblazing leaders and insights on gender diversity in biotech. Do check them out below if you haven’t had a chance.
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Patients prefer oral dosing, but swallowing tablets can be a challenge for many patients.
The Zydis® orally disintegrating tablet (ODT) platform addresses challenges associated with oral dosing, expanding benefits for patients and options for healthcare providers.
A strong growth trajectory is expected for ODTs given therapeutic innovation and continued technology development.
Many patients prefer conventional tablets for the administration of medications, but some geriatric and pediatric patients and those with altered mental status and physical impairments find swallowing tablets to be difficult. Orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs), which dissolve completely without chewing or sucking, offer a patient-friendly dosage form for the administration of small-molecule drugs, peptides and proteins. With the potential for multiple sites of drug absorption, often faster onset action for the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), and potentially greater bioavailability, ODTs are an attractive option for drug developers considering first-to-market formulations or product line extensions of existing drugs with compatible API. In this report, we look at how innovation in the industry-leading Zydis ODT platform is expanding oral formulation options and bringing benefits to patients.
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Remember when medical meetings were live and in person?
Stepping off the plane from Austin into this year’s American Society of Hematology annual meeting in Atlanta, I can’t help but feel some of the excitement and sense of intellectual ferment we used to feel around the biggest conferences of the year — but it’s undeniable this year is different.
No longer restricted to a wonky Internet platform, #ASH21 has adopted a live-virtual hybrid model, and I embraced the chance to return to my first live meeting in roughly two years — vaxxed, boosted and masked, of course. It’s good to be back, but I, like the rest of the world, am still adjusting to the new normal.
As a spate of researchers work diligently on next-gen CAR-T cell therapies, the big players in the current generation of those drugs are still angling for more market share. Getting to patients earlier is now the game plan, and Gilead’s Kite has uncorked some impressive data backing up its case in lymphoma.
Kite’s Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) cut the risk of disease progression, death or the need for additional therapy by a little more than 60% compared with standard of care in second-line patients with relapsed or refractory large B cell lymphoma, according to full data from the Phase III ZUMA-7 study revealed Saturday at #ASH21.
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Kicking off this weekend’s #ASH21, Gilead’s Kite and Bristol Myers Squibb have released competing data for their current-gen CAR-T drugs in second-line B cell lymphoma patients. It’s a heated contest to move these drugs into earlier lines of therapy, and Bristol Myers thinks these fuller data will keep the pressure on.
Bristol Myers’ Breyanzi (lisocabtagene maraleucel) cut the risk of disease progression, death and other events by 65% over standard of care in second-line relapsed or refractory LBCL patients, according to data from the Phase III TRANSFORM study presented Saturday.
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Roche’s Genentech got a leg up in the packed anti-TIGIT race earlier this year when the FDA granted it the first breakthrough designation in the field based on some upbeat mid-stage data in non-small cell lung cancer. Now, looking to keep its lead, the pharma giant is offering a two-and-a-half-year look at the same patient group — but will two deaths crush its chances?
A combination of Genentech’s anti-TIGIT cancer tiragolumab plus PD-L1 inhibitor Tecentriq reduced patients’ risk of disease progression or death by 38% compared to those who received Tecentriq alone at a median follow-up of 2.5 years, the company said on Friday. In a pre-specified exploratory analysis of participants with high levels of PD-L1, the combo reduced the risk of disease worsening or death by 71% compared to the Tecentriq group.
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In a heated race with some of pharma’s biggest players, Roche’s Genentech is looking to drive a lead bispecific antibody program through the clinic against stubborn blood cancers. As the field watches closely, Roche is now trotting out data it thinks could earn its drug a first shot at the market.
Roche’s mosunetuzumab, a bispecific targeting the CD20 and CD3 proteins on the surface of tumors, posted a 60% complete response rate, according to data from nearly 100 patients with third-line-or-later follicular lymphoma in an open-label, single-arm Phase I/II study dubbed GO29781 presented Saturday at #ASH21.
Back in January 2019, the late House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings kicked off a nearly 3-year-long drug pricing investigation that culminated today in a major new report detailing how prices for vital drugs have risen substantially since their launch, while calling on the Senate to pass a bill that will allow Medicare to negotiate some prices.
The committee’s investigation focused on 12 of the most expensive drugs for Medicare, showing massive price spikes that have accumulated over the years and made some drugs, like insulin, entirely unaffordable for some, to the point where some diabetics have had to ration their life-saving insulin, and some have died.
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