Noted This Week

June 11–17

In a deal worth at least $650 million, including $200 million in expenses, Bristol Myers Squibb will collaborate with Eisai to develop and commercialize MORAb-202, an antibody–drug conjugate that combines Eisai’s antifolate receptor alpha (FRα) antibody and its anticancer agent eribulin using an enzyme-cleavable linker. Eisai is investigating the agent in FRα-positive solid tumors, including endometrial, ovarian, lung, and breast cancers, in early-phase trials in Japan and the United States. Eisai is entitled to receive up to $2.45 billion more in milestone payments.

iTeos Therapeutics and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize EOS-448, an anti-TIGIT monoclonal antibody being investigated in a phase I trial as a treatment for patients advanced solid tumors. TIGIT, part of the CD226 checkpoint axis, has demonstrated potential as a target for the next generation of immune-oncology therapies. Under the deal—which will give GSK access to antibodies that synergistically target TIGIT, CD96, and PVRIG, the three known CD226 checkpoints—iTeos will receive an up-front payment of $625 million with up to $1.45 billion more for meeting development and commercial milestones.

The FDA greenlighted avapritinib (Ayvakit; Blueprint Medicines) for adults with advanced systemic mastocytosis (AdvSM), including those with aggressive systemic mastocytosis, systemic mastocytosis with an associated hematologic neoplasm, and mast cell leukemia. The approval was based on results of the EXPLORER and PATHFINDER trials, which enrolled patients with AdvSM. The overall response rate in both trials combined was 57%, split almost evenly between complete and partial responses. The median duration of response was 38.3 months, and the median time to response was 2.1 months.

Oncologists should offer 1 year of adjuvant olaparib to patients with high-risk early-stage HER2-negative breast cancer and germline BRCA1/2 mutations following the completion of (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy and local treatment, including radiation, according to recommendations updating a 2020 guideline from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Surgical Oncology. The recommendation is based on the OlympiA trial, which demonstrated a significant improvement in invasive and disease-free survival with the PARP inhibitor compared with placebo.

Some patients with ovarian cancer are more likely to beat the disease if they have surgery prior to receiving chemotherapy instead of the other way around, according to a just-published analysis (PNAS 2021;118:e2026663118). Due to ongoing debate about the sequencing of therapies, researchers built a mathematical model, combined with clinical data from patients, to determine the best approach. For patients who were well enough to undergo an operation, surgery proved superior because it offers the best chance to remove cells likely to be resistant to chemotherapy, the researchers said.


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