DeciBio Insights

Oncology Cell Therapy Companies Race to the Finish Line

Biomarkers, Immuno-Oncology

Tracking the Oncology Cell Therapy Space

Cell therapies is a rapidly growing space with huge potential to improve oncology patient outcomes. As examples, the two approved CAR-T products Yescarta (Kite/Gilead) and Kymriah (Novartis) have demonstrated incredibly high objective response rates (ORR) and complete response rates (CR) in DLBCL patients – 72% ORR / 51% CR and 50% ORR / 32% CR respectively1,2.

Despite the billions of dollars that have poured into cell therapy companies in recent years3, the space is still relatively nascent and a diverse set of approaches are possible, resulting in a highly fragmented space with over a hundred competitors getting in on the action. At DeciBio, we’ve been tracking the general immuno-oncology space (see the DeciBio BioMAP, which analyzes >1,500 I/O clinical trials); here we took a deeper dive on the immune cell therapy space specifically given the abundance of activity and level of (justified) excitement in this space.

To this end, we’ve put together a database of 243 drug candidates across 60 companies4. We wanted to provide our take on an immune cell therapy competitor landscape visual leveraging Tableau’s interactivity.

https://public.tableau.com/views/DeciBioOncologyCellTherapyTracker/OncologyCellTherapyDashboard?:display_count=y&:origin=viz_share_link

How to Navigate the Oncology Cell Therapy Tracker

Within this dashboard, each drug candidate is represented as a dot, categorized into columns by clinical trial phase / development stage, and color coded by cell type (e.g., CAR-T, TCR, NK). Hovering over each dot pulls up a tooltip box with additional information about the drug candidate including NCT IDs and trial titles, and clicking on the dot provides links to the company pipeline page or a clinicaltrial.gov search.

On the left hand side is a control panel that allows you to switch out the row parameters or you can also filter by the same parameters –  cell origin, immune cell type, company, cancer type, and target(s).

Some Key Takeaways

Some interesting insights from the dashboard include:

  • Many allogeneic assets are in development – Although autologous clearly dominates the pipeline, allogeneic has grown to be a sizeable chunk (1/3) of candidates tracked. Atara Bio, NantKwest, Allogene, Precision Bio, CRISPR Therapeutics have candidates that are furthest along the development pipeline on the allogeneic front.
  • Cell types have diversified beyond CAR-T and TCR – CAR-T and TCR combined comprise the vast majority of the pipeline (~60% and ~15% respectively), but there are some novel approaches as cell types diversify; NantKwest, Celularity, and Fate are focused on allogeneic therapies with NK cells (with and without genetic modification), while Iovance is focused in TILs. Other interesting approaches from a cell type perspective include Carisma Therapeutics with macrophages and Rubius Therapeutics with red blood cells.
  • Heme indications are focused on a few key targets, while solid tumor indications see more diverse approaches – Unsurprisingly, CD19 and BCMA are by far the most investigated markers for heme malignancies, with CD20, CD123, CD22 being the next most crowded spaces. Within solid tumors, there are several untargeted / un-engineered approaches with TILs and NK cells, with a diverse, long tail of markers, including CEA, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A4, AFP, HER2, PSMA, PSCA and MUC to name a few.

Future Developments and Suggestions

We’ll be adding more companies and building out new features in the new year as we continue to improve the tool. In the meantime, let us know if there are specific features or companies that you’d like to see incorporated and we’ll do our best to prioritize those.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for news and updates on the space, and check back for our upcoming “year in review” blog, and most exciting developments to watch for next year.

 

References / Notes

  1. Kymriah FDA Package Insert [Accessed 12/12/2019] – https://www.fda.gov/files/vaccines%2C%20blood%20%26%20biologics/published/Package-Insert—KYMRIAH.pdf
  2. Yescarta FDA Package Insert [Accessed 12/12/2019] – https://www.fda.gov/media/108377/download
  3. Alliance of Regenerative Medicine Q3 2019 Data Report [Accessed 12/12/2019] – https://alliancerm.org/publication/q3-2019-data-report/
  4. Includes a few duplicates due to multiple companies working on the same candidate, for example Allogene, Servier and Cellectis all working on UCART19

 

susan zhou

 

Susan is a Senior Associate at DeciBio with experience in a variety of consulting engagements in diagnostics, health IT and research tools. She has particular interest in oncology precision medicine, novel diagnostics, and novel therapeutics, and is the curator of the liquid biopsy and immune cell therapy weekly newsletters. Connect with her on LinkedIn, or email her at [email protected]

 

Disclaimer: Companies listed above may be DeciBio clients and/or customers