12. Biotech Press Lounge at Faculty Club G2B
The development of a combination drug for immunotherapy and trends of the VC and pharmaceutical branch were introduced at the IZB
Jason Loveridge of 4SC, Andreas Huber of Bayern Kapital and Michael Crowley of F. Hoffmann-La Roche presented at the 12th Biotech Press Lounge
Martinsried/Munich, October 17, 2019 –100 multipliers from the biotech, pharmaceutical and venture capital industry met on October 17, 2019 at the 12th Biotech Press Lounge at the Innovation and Startup Center for Biotechnology (IZB). In the Faculty Club G2B (Gateway to Biotech), the guests heard three exciting keynote speeches and discussed new research findings and innovative strategies. Dr. Peter Hanns Zobel, Managing Director of the IZB, opened the event, which was moderated by Jo Schilling, editor of the specialist magazine Technology Review. “We are always happy to welcome new speakers and guests to the Biotech Press Lounge at the IZB. This is why the network at the IZB is constantly expanding and still bearing fruit, “says Zobel.
Andreas Huber, Scientific Director Life Science and Senior Investment Manager at Bayern Kapital GmbH, not only explained new trends and opportunities, but also challenges relating to investments in life sciences. Jason Loveridge, CEO of 4SC AG, presented an innovative inhibitor for use in cancer immunotherapy. Michael Crowley, Head Business Development for Pharma Research and Early Development at Roche Pharma Partnering, spoke about how partnerships can collectively drive innovations.
The first speaker, Andreas Huber, Scientific Director Life Science and Senior Investment Manager at Bayern Kapital GmbH, reported on new developments relating to investments in life sciences. “New technologies are emerging, driven by megatrends such as aging populations in Western countries, cost pressures in healthcare systems and digitalization. Just to name a few, the revival of gene therapies, new breakthrough technologies such as CRISPR, therapeutic successes in immuno-oncology and also artificial intelligence and big data,” explained Huber. He also emphasized the improved environment for VC investments in the EU and also Germany; an indication for this is the successful fundraising of many big VC funds. Corporations and business angels also show a higher activity level. At the same time, new investors from abroad – many from China – are looking for interesting investment targets in Europe and Germany. “But there is still a huge gap compared to the VC ecosystem in the US,” Huber pointed out. “Bayern Kapital is part of the solution to help fill this gap.”
In his speech, Jason Loveridge, CEO of 4SC AG, provided background on a novel immune-modulator from the 4SC portfolio, which can boost current immunotherapeutic approaches in cancer. “Domatinostat is an oral best in class small molecule Class I selective HDACi with a uniquely favorable tolerability profile,” Loveridge explained. “It has been investigated in a Phase I study in patients with advanced hematologic cancers, and more recently in a phase Ib/II study in combination with checkpoint blockade, exhibiting good tolerability as well as positive signs of anti-tumor efficacy.” 4SC, a biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology, is evaluating Domatinostat as a combination partner for immuno-oncology therapies and initiated a Phase Ib/II study of Domatinostat in combination with the anti-PD-1 checkpont inhibitor pembrolizumab in patients with melanoma (SENSITIZE). A second Phase Ib/II study of Domationstat in combination with the anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor avelumab will be conducted in patients with microsatellite-stable gastro intestinal cancer (EMERGE). According to Loveridge, 4SC also plans to advance Domatinostat into a number of additional clinical studies in combination with checkpoint inhibitors in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma and as neoadjuvant therapy in melanoma.
Michael Crowley, Head Business Development for Pharma Research and Early Development at Roche Pharma Partnering, spoke about how Roche is collectively driving innovation through partnerships. “There has never been a more exciting time to transform how we deliver care for patients. The scientific and economic landscape for biotech is changing rapidly. At the same time the need for new, better, and more personalized treatments continues to grow,” explained Crowley. “Roche is deeply committed to bringing the most ground breaking treatments science has to offer to patients with difficult-to-treat diseases,” outlined Michael Crowley. “But we know that we cannot accomplish this on our own. Only by partnering with the brightest minds in sciences and healthcare we will be able to serve the needs of patients now and in the future,” according to Crowley.