Biomarkers spark a (good) debate
December 2015


BOSTON—Leerink Research recently shared its coverage of the biomarkers debate portion of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer annual meeting, which it said reinforces the company’s opinion that biomarker research will retain its place as a high-interest field for companies developing immuno-oncology drugs. Discussants felt there are many measurable immune parameters that could function as biomarkers for immuno-oncology drugs, such as “protein expression of tumor cells; T cell quantity, location and clonality; mutational load; and neoantigen expression.” Leerink noted that biomarkers could answer a variety of clinical questions, such as response prediction, prognosis, pharmacodynamics and efficacy markers. Leerink did feel that a pro/con discussion of PD-L1, one of the leading targets in immunotherapy, “skewed bearish,” noting that “While studied therapies have shown greater response in PD-L1 positive patients, lack of sufficient PD-L1 expression did not preclude response.”

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