Friday, May 27, 2011

Bay Area cancer drug developers pin futures on ASCO

It is make or break time for cancer drug powerhouses and wannabes alike, and that’s not lost on companies like ACT Biotech.
Impress clinicians at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting June 3 to 7 in Chicago, and those scientists will want to be part of a company’s next trial. Wow investors and a company buys additional life for itself. Blow away Big Pharma and find a partner.
Bottom line: Be there or perhaps cease to be.
For every Genentech Inc., the South San Francisco biotech cancer drug powerhouse, that is presenting at ASCO, there is an ACT, a 3-year-old company with an experimental stomach cancer drug that it hopes to take into a Phase III trial later this year. For every Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., looking to extend its Nexavar franchise into breast cancer, there’s an Exelixis Inc., which is betting its future on the power of one drug against several cancers.
Other ASCO presenters include OxiGene Inc., SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Berkeley’s Plexxikon Inc., which has teamed with Genentech and its parent, Roche, on a potential melanoma treatment.

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