Promising Developments in Treating Multiple Myeloma Coming at This Year’s AACR Meeting

VANCOUVER – USA News Group –According to a report from, total cases of the uncommon but deadly blood cancer, multiple myeloma, will continue to rise by 2030. Treatment for the condition falls under the Hematological Malignacies Drugs Market, which InsightAce Analytic projects to reach $42.78 billion by 2030, rapidly growing at a CAGR of 13.7% during the forecast period. The Blood Cancer Drugs Market is expected to hit $89.91 billion by 2028, according to a new study by Polaris Market Research. Heading into the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2022, one of the year’s top meetings on cancer drugs, and coming on the heels of the FDA’s latest approval for Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary’s new therapy, there’s plenty of optimism in the air for multiple myeloma treatment. Now the biotech sector is gearing up to present results at the AACR meeting in this field, including updates from Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (NASDAQ:ONCY) (TSX:ONC), Compugen Ltd. (NASDAQ:CGEN), C4 Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CCCC), and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN).

One of the presenters set to deliver results at the AACR Annual Meeting in New Orleans between April 8-13, is Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (NASDAQ:ONCY) (TSX:ONC), which has announced phase 1b data demonstrating clinical proof-of-concept for pelareorep-proteasome inhibitor combination therapy in multiple myeloma.

Its flagship asset, pelareorep, is an intravenously delivered immunotherapeutic agent that induces anti-cancer immune responses and promotes an inflamed tumor phenotype—turning “cold” tumors “hot”—through innate and adaptive immune responses to treat a variety of cancers.

The AACR data are from a completed phase 1b trial evaluating the combination of pelareorep and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma patients.

Results from the trial showed that the combination was well-tolerated and led to prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) of over three years in a subset of patients. Additionally, biomarker data demonstrated increased infiltration of T and NK cells in the tumor immune microenvironment post-treatment.

"To see patients resistant to prior therapies achieve multi-year PFS is a remarkable finding that speaks to pelareorep's potential to synergistically combine with anti-cancer agents and provide sustained clinical benefit," said Kevin Kelly, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and Principal Investigator of the trial.

The AACR data shows post-treatment increases in anti-cancer immune cells correlated with both clinical response and changes in T cell clonality, which has previously been identified as a potential predictive biomarker that could increase the likelihood of success in future trials of pelareorep by informing patient selection.

"These are exciting results that we believe bode well for successful outcomes in our two ongoing multiple myeloma studies that are evaluating pelareorep in combination with a next-generation proteasome inhibitor,” said Thomas Heineman, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of Oncolytics Biotech.

Back in December 2021, Oncolytics Biotech announced preclinical data demonstrating the drug’s synergistic anti-leukemic effects when combined with the chemotherapeutic agent azacytidine. Oncolytics continues to build on data from the completed multiple myeloma trial through the advancement of two ongoing phase 1 trials of pelareorep in this indication.

Also at the AACR Meeting, pioneer in computational target discovery, Compugen Ltd. (NASDAQ:CGEN), is set to present new research suggesting that targeting DNAM-1 axis receptors (PVRIG and TIGIT) holds promise for treatment of multiple myeloma. In particular, the data shows PVRIG is the most dominant immune checkpoint in these patients.

"We continue to lead groundbreaking research on the biology of the key targets of the DNAM-1 axis PVRIG and TIGIT,” said Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D., President and CEO of Compugen. “These data support our hypothesis that therapies targeting the DNAM-1 axis may provide new treatment options for certain cancer patients."

Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company C4 Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CCCC) will also present a poster and three oral presentations at the meeting. Among their presentations, two pertain to multiple myeloma, including a presentation on the results of the initial treatment cohort from a First-in-Human (FIH) Phase 1/2 Study of its novel IKZF1/3 Degrader, CFT7455.

“We look forward to the AACR Annual Meeting, where we will share clinical data from Cohort A in our Phase 1/2 trial evaluating CFT7455 in hematologic malignancies, as well as pre-clinical data from three programs that demonstrate differentiation and versatility of our TORPEDO platform,” said Andrew Hirsch, CEO of C4 Therapeutics.

C4T will also present pre-clinical data characterizing the chemical structure of CFT7455 and the resulting improvements in potency and optimized PK properties.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) has announced that new data from across its oncology portfolio and pipeline will be presented at the meeting, including an abstract on the BiTE Platform, and an evaluation of a dual-targeting BCMA-CS1 HLE BiTE molecule for multiple myeloma.

Last December, Amgen received FDA approval for the expansion of the KYPROLIS (carfilzomib) US prescribing information to include its use in combination with DARZALEX FASPRO (daratumumab and hyaluronidase-fihj) and dexamethasone for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received one to three lines of therapy. 

"I am pleased that the addition of subcutaneous daratumumab to KYPROLIS plus dexamethasone will offer increased flexibility and convenience for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma and will greatly reduce the administration burden," said David M. Reese, M.D., Executive VP of Research and Development at Amgen.  

Prior to the AACR Meeting, US FDA also gave approval to Carvykti, a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy from Legend Biotech and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Janssen. In the companies’ CARTITUDE-1 studies, Carvykti provided a deep and durable response rate in 98% of 97 patients.

“Today’s approval of CARVYKTI is a pivotal moment for Legend Biotech because it is our first-ever marketing approval, but what really excites us is the drug’s potential to become an impactful therapy option for patients in need of long, treatment-free intervals,” said Ying Huang, Ph.D., CEO and CFO of Legend Biotech.

A promising 78% of patients treated achieved stringent complete response, where no cancerous cells could be found in the body, and earlier results showed that after a median follow-up of two years, 74% of those treated were still alive, with 61% having no further progression of their cancer.

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