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European Immunotherapy Companies Have Great Concerns Regarding Increasing Costs and Long Development Timelines

The Promise of Adopting Repertoire Sequencing in Drug Discovery and Development of Immunotherapies

We offer immunotherapy developers a more extensive, more reliable, more robust and a far more user-friendly way to derive insights that really matter in support of their drug development challenges”
— J. Lunenberg (CEO ENPICOM)
'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, NOORD-BRABANT, NETHERLANDS, February 21, 2019 / -- Today, bioinformatics software engineering company ENPICOM announced the findings from a science project performed by D.A. de Vries, student of the Master’s Program Science, Business and Innovation at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. De Vries surveyed European Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) developing immunotherapies about their concerns related to some important market trends. In total, 16.2% of all SMEs contacted filled out the survey, indicating that the topics addressed were of high interest to them. In particular, the level of concern related to increasing costs (60%) and long development timelines (72.8%) scored very high.

The report states that pharmaceutical companies are increasingly pursuing a biomarker driven approach in their drug discovery and development processes. Early and comprehensive incorporation of biomarkers by pharmaceutical companies has shown promising results in the past with higher success rates in each stage of clinical development. Many believe that new technologies and products affiliated with a stratified approach will improve our clinical care and health outcomes by increasing the capacity to prevent and treat various diseases, while decreasing health-care costs. In this way a biomarker driven approach to drug discovery and development may bring value to not only the companies developing a drug, but also to society.

Of the respondents, 72.7% answered that their company is currently implementing a biomarker approach in their drug discovery and/or development process versus 27.3% of respondents who answered they are not. Within this group, 87.5% of respondents stated that their company is considering a new and/or expanded biomarker driven approach in the coming three years.

When zooming in on repertoire sequencing (Rep-seq), de Vries reports that 70.6% of respondents believe that insights from Rep-seq could potentially be valuable for their own business operations. Of the total number of respondents, 17.6% strongly agreed, 35.3% agreed, and 17.6% more or less agreed with this statement.

Possible applications of Rep-seq analysis that respondents could think of for their own organizations were “analysis of infiltrating T cells before, during and after treatment”, “screen treated patients before and after therapy”, “identify patients that have established tumor specific immune responses”, and “clone selection”, de Vries reported.

ENPICOM has offered the Master’s Program student the opportunity to setup this Science Project, since it was very interested to learn about the opinions of its potential customer audience about the topics addressed in this survey.

The R&D costs of a new drug approval have been increasing throughout the years and are often used to justify setting increasingly high prices by the private sector. One of the major drivers of this trend is that the pharmaceutical R&D process is very lengthy and often lasts a decade or more. Historically, an increase in development times can be seen, especially when looking at the time spent in preclinical development.

For different forms of immunotherapy, Rep-seq and especially innovative methods to manage, analyze and visualize the corresponding data can be of great added value to accelerate and streamline the drug discovery and development process at different stages. Jos Lunenberg, CEO of ENPICOM comments: “In the last one and a half year we have built a team of experts solely concentrating on bringing the insights that can be derived from Rep-seq technology to a next level. Rep-seq data management, analysis and visualization has never truly been taken seriously by any other company in this field. With our ImmunoGenomiX (IGX) platform we offer immunotherapy developers a more extensive, more reliable, more robust and a far more user-friendly way to derive insights that really matter in support of their drug development challenges.”

He continues: “By making the results of this survey available to a broader audience, we not only want to highlight the rapidly increasing importance of this specific type of genomic data analysis. We aim to contribute to peer-to-peer education about this topic too, as the survey revealed a clear need for this. Via our website everyone can obtain a full copy of the report.”

ENPICOM is an innovative bioinformatics software engineering company with an outstanding team of professionals. They focus on supporting immunotherapy developers with groundbreaking products and customized solutions to improve and accelerate discovery and development of novel immunotherapies. In addition, clinical validation projects to stratify patients and monitor treatment responses to immunotherapies under development are being performed.

Their first product on the market is a world-class repertoire sequencing data analysis solution, the ImmunoGenomiX (IGX) platform. IGX is an innovative T-cell receptor and B-cell receptor repertoire analysis platform for efficient management, storage, analysis and visualization of clone data.
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