In 2016, I made several investment predictions to include targeted immunotherapy as the next evolution in treating a variety of diseases. Currently, the medical community and Big Pharma prefer a "0ne pill fits all" approach to treatment because it’s all about business and money. A patient’s improved quality of life (QoL) is a complementary benefit to hefty profiteering.
The first Big Biotechnology multi-national corporation (MNC) to gamble on targeted immunotherapy is Gilead Sciences (ticker GILD). GILD bought the National Institute of Health’s sponsored Kita Pharma this week. Kite Pharma has successfully developed one of the first of three to market targeted immunotherapy drugs.
Dr. Rosenberg, a pioneer in the targeted immunotherapy field thanks to his wife, should be up for the Nobel prize in medicine soon. With the help of Dr. Rosenburg, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy or CAR-T will revolutionise the way the medical community treats oncology.
GILD was also the first to gamble on a 90%+ Hepatitis C (HepC) functional cure. We know how that worked out for the HepC patient pool, functional cures abound. We don’t expect cancer will be cured, but life extension is something all old rich and white voters can enjoy too.
An aside: Targeted immunotherapy was one of many 2016, 20 year predictions to have come true thus far. I’m still looking forward to regenerative humans. Once, it’s relatively safe then I’ll upload this beautiful mind into a healthier looking Persian. China’s doing the 1st human head transplant later this year, woohoo!!! 🤗
The science community thinks targeted immunotherapy using CARs is the next medical evolution along with T-Cell Receptor therapies (TCRs) to follow monoclonals. Monoclonals revolutionised oncology treatment. Big Pharma MNC Roche brought monoclonals to market in the late '90s. Monoclonal treatment at the time was also considered fringe science, and today, it’s the standard therapy. In time, targeted immunotherapy will be as well.
Big USA healthcare is in business to make boat loads of money from sick people. The best money making diseases have no functional cure. It’s in Big Pharma’s best interest to enable USA people to live symbiotically with the disease.
In 2015, Earth’s #1 selling drug was Abbvie’s Humira which treats the autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis. Humira brought in USD$14 billion in revenue. It’s Big Pharma’s dream disease because it’s not fatal and requires annual expensive continuous treatment.
GILD’s targeted immunotherapy CAR-T affects 80000 potential new patients per year. If the therapy costs $100k then that’s a potential $8 billion per year added to GILD’s offering plate. Novartis priced its CAR-T drug at $475k per treatment for a different indication. GILD will likely compete on price but not a substantial discounts. Sharks don’t typically eat each other.
GILD made political waves because its HepC functional cure helped low income, minorities, and the LGBTQ communities gain a new lot on life. Politicians don’t like their taxpayer dollars helping low income people because low income typically don’t vote, campaign donate, and/or bribe (lobby) Congress as much as cancer patients.
GILD’s 90%+ Solvaldi cure was first to market and while it was an 80% price reduction from traditional liver transplant surgery, the politicians took ‘em to the hill for a grilling. Funny, most cancer drugs cost hundreds of thousands and not a word against their MNCs, again it’s all about the voters and bribes.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) will approve GILD’s CAR-T on 29 Nov 2017. If GILD prices its CAR-T like it priced its HepC then expect more extreme pricing. We know the current administration is a Big Business fluffer, and since cancer is a voter’s disease then I don’t expect much pushback from the hill, regardless of the expected mind boggling CAR-T price tag.
Nothing better than giving the rich a little hope (a few more QoL months) in exchange for boat loads of money; where have I seen this before??? Oh yeah, the Church does the same to the poor. It’s nice to see a little reverse hope mongering where it hurts 'em, in the e-wallets.
This is my church~Faithless
I’m looking forward to the next evolution in medicine, targeted immunotherapy, as well as a little hope mongering payback. 🤠
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Leave it to the Greeks to inspire the next revolution.
Since this concoction is part antibody and part T-cell, it is a chimera, like the monster of Greek mythology that is part lion, part goat and part serpent. The claw is called a receptor and the protein it binds to on the cancer cell, the target, is called an antigen. So the whole construct is called a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, and the use of it to treat cancer is called CAR T-cell therapy, or CAR-T.
CARs response rates
A recent publication in the journal, Blood, underscored the poor prognosis of this population. Historically, complete response rates were observed in only 7% of the patients and the median survival was only 6.3 months. Contrast this to the results reported in ZUMA-1 where treatment of these relapsed refractory patients with axi-cel resulted in complete response rate of 54% and the median survival has not been reached at 8.7 months. Impressively, complete response rates were durable in the majority of patients. And at six months, 36% of the patients were still in complete response.