10 promising oncology drug candidates

[3-D model of adagrasib molecule from PubChem]

The risk of cancer deaths has fallen steadily in recent years. Before the pandemic, the risk of death from cancer fell roughly 2% annually from 2015 to 2019. In the 1990s, the risk of cancer death fell approximately 1% each year, according to the American Cancer Society. In addition to improved screening and diagnosis, cancer survival rates have fallen as a result of therapeutic breakthroughs.

In this feature, we round up a variety of oncology drug candidates that may prove to be promising cancer therapeutics in the coming years.

1. Adagrasib

Adagrasib from Mirati Therapeutics is a KRASG12C inhibitor. In 2021, the drug candidate won Breakthrough Therapy Designation for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with the KRASG12C mutation. The KRAS protein inhibitor has been the subject of 14 trials to date, including a Phase 3 study focused on …

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Novartis announces tislelizumab helped extend median overall survival in first-line advanced esophageal cancer 

Novartis (NYSE:NVS) has announced that chemotherapy plus tislelizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody directed against PD-1, improved overall survival as a first-line treatment for adult patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in the Phase 3 RATIONALE 306 study.

The survival benefits were seen in patients regardless of PD-L1 status.

The benefits were consistent across patient subgroups in the study.

In the study, the combination of tislelizumab and chemotherapy resulted in median overall survival of 17.2 months compared to 10.6 months in patients receiving chemotherapy plus placebo.

Investigators concluded that the combination of chemotherapy and tislelizumab cut the risk of death by 34%.

Tislelizumab was first developed by BeiGene. Novartis paid $650 million for rights to the drug. The company also stands to pay up to $1.55 billion in potential milestone payments.


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Novartis reveals positive Phase 3 data for tislelizumab plus chemotherapy in esophageal cancer

The Swiss Big Pharma Novartis (NYSE:NVS) announced that the anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor tislelizumab with chemotherapy improved overall survival in patients with advanced, recurrent or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in a Phase 3 study.

The RATIONALE 306 trial of tislelizumab and chemotherapy met its primary endpoint at interim analysis. The study pitted the combination therapy against chemotherapy as a monotherapy.

Novartis noted that the study focusing on first-line ESCC follows on the heels of FDA and EMA accepting tislelizumab in a second-line context.

The company is optimistic that the drug could treat a variety of solid tumors.

To date, tislelizumab has been the subject of more than 200 clinical studies.

Novartis licensed rights to the drug from BeiGene in February 2021 for $650 million upfront plus another $1.55 billion in potential milestone payments.

The Swiss company noted that it would collab…

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