SITC 2019 preview – Nextcure’s time to shine

The biotech calendar’s next key conference gets under way in a month, and a presentation by Nextcure will be a focus for some investors.

With most of the programme for the Society of the Immunotherapy of Cancer conference now revealed, investors have fresh expectations from what has recently become one of the most important meetings of the biotech calendar.

The late-breaking presentations remain under wraps until November 1, but are rumoured to include a slot for Pieris, a stock that has crashed in the past month. In the meantime, those investors who bought into Nextcure, a biotech whose valuation has climbed 40% since it raised $75m in a May flotation, will look to proof of efficacy of NC318, the group’s lead asset.

NC318 inhibits a novel protein called Siglec-15, which is present on immunosuppressive macrophages. The group’s IPO document cited one partial remission in 13 patients, and more will be hoped for at SITC, where phase I data in PD-(L)1-refractory NSCLC subjects are to be presented.

Also out with SITC data in checkpoint blocker-refractory subjects will be Mirati – not with the anti-Kras project MRTX849, which features at this month’s AACR-NCI-EORTC triple meeting, but with the TRK, Ret and DDR inhibitor sitravatinib.

Selected presentations from the 2019 SITC conference
Project Company Detail Trial
Bempegaldesleukin Nektar Opdivo combo in 1st-line melanoma cohort from Pivot-02 NCT02983045
Sitravatinib Mirati Trk, Ret & DDR inhibitor combo with Opdivo in checkpoint-refractory urothelial carcinoma NCT03606174
NC318 Nextcure Single agent anti-tumor activity in PD-1 refractory NSCLC NCT03665285
CDX-1140 +/- CDX-301 Celldex CD40 agonist MAb +/- FLT3 ligand NCT03329950
CPI-006 Corvus Anti-CD73 MAb, phase I data NCT03454451
CV8102 Curevac Single-agent TLR & RIG1 agonist or combo with anti-PD-1 MAbs NCT03291002
AK104 Akeso Biopharma Phase I study of anti-PD-1 x CTLA-4 bispecific NCT03261011
IMA101 Immatics First study of TILs with defined multiple targets NCT02876510
CA-170 Curis Small-molecule Vista antagonist, mesothelioma cohort NCT02812875
RP1 Replimune Phase I data on oncolytic virus +/- Opdivo NCT03767348
ONCOS-102 Targovax Phase I data on oncolytic virus + Keytruda NCT03003676
P-BCMA-ALLO1 Poseida Off-the-shelf multiple myeloma Car-T therapy Preclinical data
AUTO6NG Autolus GD2-targeting Car-T therapy Preclinical data
BT8009 Bicycle Therapeutics Anti-nectin-4/4-1BB bispecific Preclinical data
AMV564 Amphivena  Anti-CD33 bispecific ?
Source: SITC.

Combinations will also feature, in particular Curevac’s TLR/Rig1 agonist CV8102 and Nektar’s ill-fated IL-2 asset bempegaldesleukin.

Investors in August did not buy Nektar’s excuse for bempegaldesleukin’s waning efficacy in the Pivot-02 study, and SITC will see data from this trial’s first-line melanoma cohort (Nektar’s call for calm backfires, August 9, 2019).

Another group that has disappointed of late is Bicycle Therapeutics, which presented an underwhelming update concerning its MT1-MMP inhibitor BT1718 at the Esmo congress. At SITC attention turns to the anti-nectin-4/4-1BB bispecific BT8009; Bicycle might want to bask in the reflected glory of Seattle Genetics’ recently filed anti-nectin-4 antibody-drug conjugate, enfortumab vedotin.

There will also be presentations on I-O combinations of oncolytic virus projects from Repligen and Targovax. Cell therapy enthusiasts, meanwhile, will look to early data from Immatics, Iovance, Poseida and Autolus.

That said, the best is yet to come. Pieris, whose stock has nearly halved since unveiling disappointing AZD1402/PRS-060 data in asthma, has according to analysts at Evercore ISI secured an SITC late-breaker for its oncology lead, PRS-343, which is an anti-Her2/4-1BB bispecific.

For the rest of the late-breakers investors will have to wait another three weeks.

The 2019 SITC meeting takes place at National Harbor, Maryland on November 6-10.

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