Continuing on this theme that Joel has raised in his recent post (“CD19 and BCMA – ‘What if This is as Good as it Gets?’”), I would like to add a few additional points. One, Joel notes the limited universe of validated targets. The issue of target discovery remains critical for Oncology. And while many companies are leveraging diverse platforms to surface completely new targets (such as Immatics and Atreca), other biotechs are exploiting unique twists and keen understanding of the biology of cancer cells to identify novel targets, as defined by novel epitopes for antibodies and related, that are unique to cancer cells, but which are occurring on known, validated targets, meaning know cell surface proteins (like GO Therapeutics, targeting novel cancer-specific glycosylation).
The other point I will raise, and maybe Joel and I can co-write a piece on this, is the inter-modality competition, not just intra-modality competition. CD19 and BCMA are being attacked by various cell therapies but also naked antibodies, T-cell redirecting bispecifics, ADCs, and variations on these. The advantages of most of these other approaches is that they fit within the standard BioPharma paradigm of an off the shelf therapy, and no live cells, Auto or Allo, are involved.
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