It's now clear that some prominent Big Pharma companies have gained a healthy appetite for immunotherapies. Developers have blown hot and cold on immunotherapies in recent years. At first viewed as a hot new field, they often failed to measure up as solo therapies for cancer. But now the sparkle is back in the eyes of the licensing groups.
"It reminds me of monoclonal antibodies," says Joe McCracken, the global head of business development at Roche. Antibodies, he explains, went through the classic ups and downs usually associated with a long and winding development path for a new technology. Like a lot of new therapeutic arenas, interest peaked early, then slumped and eventually swelled back up. And immunotherapies are going through the same metamorphosis.
Immunotherapies—for autoimmune diseases as well as oncology—are now one of the two top fields of interest for McCracken, who also sees a bright future in matching immunotherapies to particular patient populations—one of the key themes at the drug giant. The other field in which McCracken is looking to strike deals is neurodevelopmental disorders, exemplified by the days-old pact that he struck with Seaside Therapeutics for fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. . .View Full Article