Investigational Immunotherapy Treatments Offering Promise in Treating Pancreatic Cancer as Risk Factors Rise

Palm Beach, FL – September 26, 2023 – News Commentary – There has been a rise in the prevalence of cancer in the past several years. Overall, there is a rapid increase in the prevalence of cancer cases and its growth is driven by factors such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol consumption, air pollution and physical inactivity. Additionally, the incidence of cancer cases rises dramatically due to build up of cancer cases specific to age and the less effective repair mechanisms to be less effective as the person grows old. Additionally, the increase in chronic infections attributed as risk factors for cancer cases is rising, majorly in low-middle income countries. For instance, approximately 13% of cancers diagnosed in 2018 globally were attributed to carcinogenic infections, including Hepatitis C virus, HPV, and Epstein-Barr virus. Furthermore, according to oncology statistics, cancer cases are estimated to increase by 12.8 percent in 2025. As a result, rising cancer prevalence will increase the market’s expansion.  Globally, the pancreatic cancer market is increasing due to increasing cancer prevalence, rise in research and development, and a rising population. Additionally, cancer treatments are growing due to increasing funding and initiatives by government and private research organizations coupled with their collaborations with pharmaceutical companies is expanding the growth of the market.  A report from Precedence Research projected that the global pancreatic cancer market size, which was estimated at USD 2.22 billion in 2022, is expected to be worth around USD 7.91 billion by 2032, growing at a remarkable CAGR of 13.6% between 2023 and 2032.  Active biotech and pharma companies in the markets this week include Oncolytics Biotech® Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCY) (TSX: ONC), Vaccitech plc (NASDAQ: VACC), Biophytis SA (NASDAQ: BPTS), TransCode Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNAZ), Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY).


The report said: “The increase in epidemiologic, molecular, and basic clinical research is leading to improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. As there in an increase in clinical research and development so is the increase in the pharmaceutical business… As a result, the growing business for pharmaceuticals increases the market for pancreatic cancer treatment due to the development and investment in cancer drugs and medicines. Therefore, a rise in clinical research is a good opportunity for pancreatic cancer treatment.  North America generated more than 39% of revenue share in 2022 and is expected to grow in the forecasted period. The growth in this region is attributed to the high adoption of cancer treatments especially the pancreatic treatment procedures, increasing healthcare infrastructure, presence of a large target population is propelling the demand for the pancreatic cancer market.”


Oncolytics Biotech® Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCY) (TSX: ONC) BREAKING NEWS:  THE PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK SELECTS ONCOLYTICS BIOTECH® INC. TO RECEIVE $5 MILLION THERAPEUTIC ACCELERATOR AWARD TO DEVELOP LEADING-EDGE TREATMENTS  – In an effort to continue accelerating new treatment options for people with pancreatic cancer, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) today announced Oncolytics Biotech, Inc. as the recipient of its second annual PanCAN Therapeutic Accelerator Award. Oncolytics received this award in recognition of its promising work on pelareorep, an investigational immunotherapy treatment that introduces double-stranded RNA into cancer cells, which stimulates anticancer inflammatory effects, including innate and adaptive immune responses and the activation and recruitment of T cells into the tumor. This $5 million grant will enable Oncolytics to continue the next stage of its research focused on a clinical trial with Oncolytics’ proprietary reovirus pelareorep in combination with modified FOLFIRINOX chemotherapy with or without an immune checkpoint inhibitor. If results are encouraging, the treatment combination may be advanced to late-stage clinical development through the PanCAN Precision PromiseSM adaptive clinical trial platform.


The combination of pelareorep, gemcitabine, nab-paclitaxel, and atezolizumab was granted Fast Track designation by the FDA last year and has already been selected for inclusion in the Precision PromiseSM clinical trial platform, which is anticipated to open in early 2024. Testing pelareorep in combination with FOLFIRINOX expands the approach so all patients with advanced pancreatic cancer could have the opportunity to benefit from this innovative immunotherapeutic approach.


The announcement of the Therapeutic Accelerator Award is being made in advance of PanCAN’s annual Scientific Summit in Boston, which brings together PanCAN’s Community for Progress, including research grant recipients, Scientific and Medical Advisors, industry partners and special guests to share ideas and build collaboration. Oncolytics was selected to receive the 2023 PanCAN Therapeutic Accelerator Award for $5 million through a rigorous, competitive process involving scientific, business and programmatic review from leading experts in the field.


Pancreatic cancer is notoriously aggressive and hard to treat. Current estimates suggest that the disease will be the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States before 2030. Most people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed at a late stage when their tumor is inoperable, leaving these patients with few treatment options. And because the disease is significantly more resistant to chemotherapy than other cancers, it can even be difficult to treat in its earliest stages. Despite the fact that there is an urgent need for better outcomes for pancreatic cancer, research is often not prioritized because pancreatic cancer affects a relatively small population compared to other cancers, and clinical research can be risky and expensive.


“Today’s five-year survival rate of 12% is too low and we need new treatment options now,” said PanCAN Chief Science Officer Lynn Matrisian, PhD, MBA. “PanCAN launched our own clinical program to de-risk companies’ investment through both the Therapeutic Accelerator Award and the Precision Promise platform to facilitate rapid advances in this disease.”  CONTINUED Read this full press release and more news for ONCY at:    


Other recent developments in the biotech industry of note include:


Vaccitech plc (NASDAQ: VACC), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel T cell immunotherapeutics designed to harness the power of the immune system to treat chronic infectious diseases, cancer and autoimmunity, recently hosted a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) Webinar to discuss the current treatment landscape for people living with chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection and potential paths to a functional cure.


The Vaccitech management team provided a clinical overview of VTP-300, the first antigen-specific immunotherapy that has been shown to induce sustained reductions in Hepatitis B surface antigen, a marker of the disease. Vaccitech is studying VTP-300, including in combination with siRNA and low-dose anti-PD-1 antibodies, as part of the search for a regimen that could lead to a potential functional cure for HBV.


Biophytis SA (NASDAQ: BPTS), a clinical-stage biotechnology company specialized in the development of therapeutics that are aimed at slowing the degenerative processes associated with aging and improving functional outcomes for patients suffering from age-related diseases, and Skyepharma, a French pharmaceutical company specializing in the formulation, development and production of pharmaceutical products, recently announced the signature of a partnership agreement for the production of regulatory batches of Sarconeos (BIO101) for severe forms of Covid-19, with a view to the submission of marketing authorization applications.


Based on the active ingredient produced by SEQENS, Skyepharma will develop finished product batches meeting the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards required for market access filings. The key stages in the production of Sarconeos (BIO101) will be entrusted to leading, innovative French partners meeting the highest standards of pharmaceutical quality. Pharmaceutical development work at the industrial stage will complete the information required for early access authorizations, particularly in France and Brazil.


TransCode Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNAZ), the RNA oncology company committed to more effectively treating cancer using RNA therapeutics, recently announced positive results with its lead therapeutic candidate, TTX-MC138, in murine models bearing human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumors. In this study, the therapeutic candidate was delivered to brain tumors and effectively engaged its target.


GBM is the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer. Its prognosis is poor despite advances in standard-of-care therapy. The 5-year survival rate has remained essentially unchanged over the past 30 years. TransCode believes there is an urgent need to develop more effective therapies. In the study reported by TransCode, mice implanted with tumors derived from human GBM patients were treated with TTX-MC138 and imaged by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine delivery of the therapeutic candidate to the tumors. In addition, the pharmacodynamic activity of TTX-MC138 was determined by measuring inhibition of the therapeutic target, miRNA-10b, using qRT-PCR. TTX-MC138 was injected intravenously and accumulated efficiently in the tumors. Importantly, the therapeutic candidate showed lasting activity and significantly inhibited miRNA-10b, known to be a driver of tumor progression in glioblastoma.


Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) recently announced that the late-stage CheckMate-77T study achieved its primary goal in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.  CheckMate-77T is a phase III randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center study evaluating neoadjuvant Opdivo (nivolumab) with chemotherapy followed by surgery and adjuvant Opdivo versus neoadjuvant chemotherapy and placebo followed by surgery and adjuvant placebo in 452 patients with resectable stage IIA to IIIB NSCLC. The primary endpoint of the trial is event-free survival (EFS). Secondary endpoints include overall survival (OS), pathologic complete response and major pathologic response.


The study met its primary endpoint of EFS as assessed by the Blinded Independent Central Review as the perioperative regimen of neoadjuvant Opdivo with chemotherapy, followed by surgery and adjuvant Opdivo showed a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in EFS compared with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and placebo, followed by surgery and adjuvant placebo.  The study represents the company’s second positive late-stage study with an immunotherapy-based combination for the treatment of non-metastatic NSCLC.


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