ASCO 2021 summary for 2cureX
The 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting has come to an end. This was a long-awaited event for 2cureX. The meeting was still held in virtual format this year and therefore did not allow any direct interaction with oncologists, but it was nevertheless an opportunity to get more exposure for the results of the TICC trial through the abstract presented by Dr. Lars Henrik Jensen. It was also the occasion to check the latest news and trends in the world of oncology.
TICC trial statements
Dr. Lars Henrik Jensen, Head of Oncology at University Hospital Vejle, was interviewed as Principal Investigator of the TICC trial. He expressed his satisfaction with the results and its impact on patients when he said, "we have managed to increase the proportion of patients with stable disease from 20 to 50 percent, and this is a clear signal that there is an effect”. He went on to emphasize the value of functional testing in Precision Oncology:” For many years, personalized medicine has been based in molecular biology. You examine different mutations, create a molecular biology profile, and treat from it. That is all well and good, but the world is often more complex than that”.
Dr. Jensen also suggested an additional use for the test to identify drugs that the tumor would be resistant to: "With the test, we can potentially avoid situations where we give the patient a treatment that causes a lot of side effects but has no benefit. The technology can have a major impact on patients."
Relevant trends for 2cureX
Two major trends were confirmed at ASCO and will have an impact on the speed of rollout of IndiTreat. First, the increasing awareness about the use of functional testing for ex-vivo assessment of efficacy of drugs. A total of 63 abstracts and presentations on this topic, mainly from American institutions, were included in the program. This normalization of functional testing in oncology plays in favor of 2cureX as it makes potential users more comfortable with the concept and the conversations with them become easier.
Second, the predominant role of combination therapies (patients being treated with combinations of drugs instead of monotherapies). Many drugs are developed and launched as monotherapy, and they have an associated biomarker to define which patients are eligible for the treatment. But when they are combined with other drugs, there is no biomarker to predict the response. In this space IndiTreat can provide a recommendation, and this situation is getting more and more frequent as new drugs are being approved and the possibilities of combinations grow exponentially.
Ole Thastrup, CSO of 2cureX, commented “we are seeing a surge in the number of communications related to functional testing, but few of them are based on 3d microtumors. This is important because we know that other approaches do not recapitulate the biology of the original tumor as well as ours do”.
What is next?
Fernando Andreu, CEO of 2cureX, stated that “the interest in functional testing we have seen at ASCO confirms the market is mature for rolling out our first product. The TICC abstract is an excellent support for the conversations we are having with oncologists in several hospitals who expressed interest in using IndiTreat. It is our top priority to make the test accessible to them and we are discussing the conditions under which this will happen”.
The strong evidence of clinical benefits from using IndiTreat has triggered a new project within the company, to extend its indication from third-line patients to include first and second line treatments, a much larger number of patients who could benefit from the test-guided therapy. Dr. Lars Henrik Jensen confirmed the interest in this approach when he said “we will continue to work on the method and try to apply it to patients who are about to start cancer treatment, so that we get a profile of their cancer cells from the start. Hopefully, this can guide the treatment they are facing".
Henrik Harling, CMO of 2cureX said “it is a pleasure to see the reception of the TICC results in the oncology community, and the possibility of moving the test to an earlier point of treatment is really exciting. Many patients could benefit from an upfront analysis of drug sensitivity that would open more options for their treatments”.
In the meantime, the company continues its activities to expand the distributor network and strengthen its commercial function. Significant efforts are also being made in the adaptations to ensure compliance with the new regulatory environment that comes into force in May 2022, an area that the company thinks will significantly change the competitive landscape.
Warm summer regards