At a recent American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference investors were able to review progress in immunotherapy clinical trials. The progress is positive. Incyte, for one, presented improved patient response rates in five types of cancer when epacadostat was administered in combination with Keytruda or Opdivo.
Juno Therapeutics also presented at ASCO, showing very good efficacy data and a high response rate. And the post-conference gains made by Kite Pharma stock indicates growing interest among investors.
These successful clinical readouts suggest that oncology will remain a hotbed of drug development in the years to come. Indeed BB Biotech, one of the largest biotech investors in Europe, have increased their oncology weighting of late, adding positions in companies investigating cancer immunotherapies. These companies include Kite Pharma, Juno Therapeutics and Macrogenics.
Daniel Koller, Head of Investment at BB Biotech, said: "Pricing strategies for anti-cancer medicines are being politically influenced but biotech firms in the field of oncology will still have greater leeway when setting their pricing strategies. This is as long as their newly approved products show a high benefit with respect to longer survival times and improved quality of life for patients in clinical trials.
"Our Investment Team is confident that a steady stream of clinical readouts as the year progresses, and a growing number of product approvals versus 2016, will attract greater investor attention to the biotech sector as a whole - and help the stocks in its portfolio make further gains."
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All forward-looking statements included in this release are made only as of the date of this release and BB Biotech and its directors and officers assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or other factors.