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In Brief This Week: Gilead Sciences, Arcus Biosciences, Verismo Therapeutics, Caris Life Sciences

NEW YORK – Gilead Sciences and Arcus Biosciences this week announced an update from the ongoing Phase II ARC-7 study enrolling non-small cell lung cancer patients whose tumors express PD-L1 in at least 50 percent of cells and who do not harbor EGFR or ALK mutations. The three-arm randomized trial is designed to evaluate the anti-TIGIT antibody domvanalimab plus the anti-PD-1 antibody zimberelimab in one arm, those two agents plus the A2a/b adenosine receptor antagonist etrumadenant in another arm, and zimberelimab monotherapy in a third arm. In a fourth interim analysis, Gilead and Arcus said that both the doublet and triplet therapies demonstrated clinically meaningful differentiation across both response rates and progression-free survival endpoints versus zimberelimab alone. The firms plan to present the full dataset from the interim analysis on Dec. 20. 


Verismo Therapeutics said this week that it has established a new research and development center at CIC Philadelphia, which the firm plans to use to further advance its cell therapy platform dubbed KIR-CAR. The facility, which University of Pennsylvania spinout Verismo will use for both its translational research and ongoing SynKIR-110 clinical trial as well as future clinical trials, includes laboratories designed to allow Verismo to advance its pipeline with minimal delays and expenditures. 


Caris Life Sciences said this week that Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center has joined its Precision Oncology Alliance, a network of leading cancer centers that collaborate to advance precision oncology and biomarker-driven research. Currently boasting 74 institutions, the POA grants members early access to Caris' extensive database and artificial intelligence platform, as well as the opportunity to integrate with a growing portfolio of biopharma-sponsored biomarker directed trials. Participating centers also gain access to Caris' CODEai clinico-genomic database. 


The US Food and Drug Administration this week granted fast track designation to Nuvectis Pharma's NXP800 for the treatment of platinum-resistant ARID1A-mutated ovarian cancer. NXP800, an HSF1 pathway inhibitor, is being studied in a Phase I trial in ovarian cancer and in other ARID1a-mutated solid tumors. Nuvectis acquired NXP800 from CRT Pioneer Fund, an oncology investment fund managed by Sixth Element Capital in the UK in August 2021. The drug was discovered by the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.


Breast Cancer Canada this week announced a call for proposals for its 2023 Precision Oncology Research Grants. The grants will award $500,000 in funding for breast cancer research projects focused on precision oncology. The awarded projects will span several areas of research: basic science, screening and detection, personalized treatment, and patient reported outcomes. All research projects must also include an artificial intelligence component and a breast cancer patient advocate or a local breast cancer advocacy group. 


BC Platforms said last week that it has been chosen as a partner for an EU project called Oncovalue that is headed by Helsinki University Hospital. The project, which involves 11 institutions and companies in Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, and Italy and is funded with €7 million ($7.3 million) from the European Commission, will assess the real-life effectiveness of novel cancer therapies in real time by standardizing data processing in hospitals and measuring the cost effectiveness of cancer therapies. BC Platforms will create the technical architecture and provide data analysis to help transform unstructured patient data from medical notes and images into structured data and real-world evidence. 

BC Platforms also said this week that an existing partnership with Euformatics and Oncompass Medicine has won a contract for the second phase of Instand-NGS4P, an EU-funded project to develop standardized next-generation sequencing workflows in oncology for a group of seven Central European hospitals. Financial terms were not disclosed for this second of three phases, which will run through January 2024 and involve prototyping of new workflows. 


NGeneBio said last week that it has signed a deal with the National Unified Procurement company (NUPCO) in Saudi Arabia to supply its next-generation sequencing panel for hematological malignancies, HemeaccuTest. Under the contract, NGeneBio expects to deliver about 4,000 kits over two years, starting in Q1 2023, through a local distributor. The test, which analyzes DNA and RNA and comes with NGeneAnySys analysis software, is currently being evaluated at Saudi hospitals. 


In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared in Precision Oncology News.