Cancer treatment: Healing powers - (Financial Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Industry experts and advocates who attended the ASCO annual meeting expressed great optimism over the therapeutic potential of cancer immunotherapies presented at the conference, Financial Times reported Friday.
  • "I think what we see here is a transformational shift," commented AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, adding "you just need to look at the data that was presented. What you see is absolutely mind-boggling."
  • "Speaking as a non-immunologist, I am very excited by the latest results," stated Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, continuing "you can't keep cool about a clinical trial [of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Yervoy and Opdivo] that shows a response rate of more than 50 percent in patients with advanced melanoma."
  • Yervoy was the first immunotherapy to reach the market, while Opdivo and Merck & Co.'s Keytruda have subsequently won regulatory clearance for malignancies such as melanoma and lung cancer.
  • AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Roche are among the drugmakers that are currently developing experimental immunotherapies.
  • Peter Johnson, chief clinician of Cancer Research UK, expressed hope that competition would drive down the prices of immunotherapies, while Andrew Baum of Citigroup indicated that his initial prediction that immunotherapies could amass peak revenue of $35 billion, an estimate that was widely derided, was "clearly an underestimate."

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