David Martin, Managing Director and Head of Equity Research at Bloom Burton with exciting innovations in oncology
The oncology space is probably one of the more exciting areas in biotech, at least for me, that’s my background. It’s moving very fast now, in fact some of the original genomics area drugs for cancer drugs that bind to targets on the outside of cancer cells or that inhibit signalling inside cells are almost old school at this point. So, I’m talking about drugs like herceptin, rituxan and gleevec. The hottest areas right now or the hottest area is a space called immuno-oncology where companies are developing drugs that reactivate the human immune system to attack and kill cancer cells. There’s three drugs already on the market in this space, immuno-oncology, so, the concept is quite well validated and this includes Bristol-Myers Squibb, they have two drugs Yervoy and Opdivo. And Merck has a drug called Keytruda and the sales estimates for these drugs, the peak sales estimates are already ranging as high as $6 billion dollars. Now interestingly, each of these drugs targets a cancer target that isn’t ubiquitous, it’s in fact a relatively narrow patient population. But we are seeing stellar tumor responses and survival benefits with the drugs. But because it is a relatively narrow patient population, this does leave the door open for more immuno-oncology drugs that may target more ubiquitous cancer targets.