In biotech, here are the top 10 news stories of the year so far, based on web traffic.
Adaptimmune's pioneering approach to cancer immunotherapy has charted some impressive results in a small study. And while the biotech is quick to point out that it's early days yet, the data underscore the potential of a therapy that has convinced GlaxoSmithKline to bet up to $350 million on its future.
When John Vansteenkiste of Belgium University Hospitals Leuven reported the full results of GlaxoSmithKline's MAGE-A3 failure at the European Society of Medical Oncology's annual congress last weekend, he wasn't the first to outline a cancer vaccine flop. But he did offer a way out from under the dark cloud hanging over the field, and it's one that some cancer vaccine makers are already embracing.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene are joining forces on a cancer combination treatment, testing the former's highly anticipated immunotherapy in tandem with an on-the-market chemo drug against a host of tumor targets.
AstraZeneca's internal forecast for a bright future is heavily dependent on a cache of new cancer immunotherapies, and the U.K. drugmaker is planning to test its lead oncology treatment in more and more tumor types with hopes of delivering on a $6.5 billion peak sales estimate.
Aduro BioTech joined the short list companies outside Big Pharma to pick up the FDA's coveted breakthrough therapy designation, impressing the agency with strong mid-stage results for its combo cancer therapy.
Though the cancer vaccine field has seen more setbacks than successes, some companies are forging ahead with ambitious plans to push their therapeutics toward regulatory approval.
After scooping up an initial €12 million in October and a partnering pact with Roche in November, Germany's immatics has received an additional €22 million ($29.8 million) to wrap up a Series D financing round.
Learning the lessons of failed trials in mild, moderate and severe Alzheimer's disease, Novartis is planning to study two new treatments on patients who are yet to show any symptoms, hoping to succeed where many others have slipped and delay the onset of the memory-destroying ailment.
The therapeutic vaccines segment of the immunotherapy market is primed for growth, with a new report pegging their major-market sales at $1.2 billion in 2022. But vaccine makers will have their fair share of challenges navigating that market--not to mention the hurdles they'll have to clear to make it there in the first place.