The FDA recently approved Imfinzi (durvalumab) for the treatment of bladder cancer, making it the fifth new monoclonal antibody approved this year. More than twenty antibodies have been approved by the FDA since 2015. While not quite the magic bullet envisioned by Ehrlich over a hundred years ago, antibodies have become a critically important modality for high impact medicines. With AstraZeneca’s durvalumab success, it’s worth reflecting on the state of antibody discovery and development in the industry today.
As a child, I once played the fiddler in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. I was a horrible violinist with a poor head for heights. But the role did leave me with the words for ‘If I were a rich man’ engraved on my brain. Nowhere do I think this song title is more relevant than in the interplay between philanthropy and the pharma/biotech sector, where rich men and women – together with several established foundations – are sowing the seeds of change.
This blog was written by Ros Deegan, CBO of Bicycle Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.
We are excited to open the first page of Chapter 2 at Magenta today. Since our public launch in November 2016, we have been working hard to reach our vision of changing patients’ lives, particularly in autoimmune and genetic diseases, by transforming transplant medicine through innovative new stem cell science. It’s been a whirlwind of generating data, collaborating with expert scientists and physicians, and testing our ideas with new investors and potential partners.
This blog was written by Jason Gardner, CEO of Magenta Therapeutics and former EIR at Atlas Venture, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.
Neural networks, cloud computing, deep learning, and in silico wizardry are on the cusp of disintermediating pharmaceutical drug discovery, cutting billions of billions off the industry’s cost of new drugs and reducing the time to get new medicines approved to just a few processing cycles. “Software eats biotech”, or so goes this new variant of a decades-old thesis. This time could be different – we could be at the singularity when “humans transcend biology” – but I don’t think so.
Academic discoveries are oxygen for entrepreneurs. But, caveat subscriptor – be careful what you sign. Even high profile studies in top journals are not always what they are cut out to be.
This blog was written by Nessan Bermingham, CEO of Intellia Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.