According to the US CB Insight database, the total amount of investment in the field of cancer in 2017 exceeded US$1.4 billion. Although it has declined from US$2 billion in 2016, it still accounts for a considerable share of the total VC. The report shows that most of them have flowed to the field of tumor immunity.
Stephanie Baum, special director of the British media MedCity, hosted a topical discussion on the MedCity CONVERGE program entitled “Oncology Investment Trends”, featuring Karen Griffith Gryga, chief investment officer from Dreamit Ventures, and Ess. Stacey Seltzer, a partner at Aisling Capital, and Dr. David Shaywitz from Takeda.
Shaywitz said that British investors will hardly be interested in the indiscriminate me-too project. Investors are more concerned about the unique potential of products that can solve the current clinical requirements that cannot be met. Shaywitz believes that the tumor investment project has the highest value ratio, but the proportion of innovative drugs is getting lower and lower. It seems that the field of cancer investment has also followed the “Moore’s Law” (Moore’s Law was proposed by computer scientist Gordon Moore around 1960). That is, the number of transistors in an integrated circuit is considered to double every two years until it cannot be expanded due to physical limitations. Shaywitz reminds investors to focus on the difference between real technological improvements and poor imitations.
Seltzer pointed out: “Aisling will still make the project to solve the actual clinical problems as the main criterion when investing. In the investment of gene therapy and immunotherapy, Aisling will also take into account the excessive cost of these therapies. The price subsidy factor is an important reference indicator. At the same time, Seltzer also mentioned that in the field of treatment of fatal diseases, if someone can find a one-time disease solution, even if the cost of treatment needs hundreds of thousands of dollars, people will still find The solution is particularly applicable to children.
In recent years, artificial intelligence technology has become more and more common in drug development, and Shaywitz has also expressed doubts about this phenomenon. He believes that simple algorithms do not attract investors’ interest, and investment institutions should establish a common set of standards to prove that the application of this technology is necessary and effective.
Investors agree that drug data is a critical component of drug development. In Aisling’s portfolio, differentiated data is the focus of the agency. But Griffith Gryga said that the underlying data is more effective in driving drug innovation. In the discussion, Griffith Gryga also used the Human Genome Project as an example, and found that the establishment of this database is the source of many genetic screening tests and clinical trials. At the same time, she also pointed out that the incomplete information of women and ethnic minorities also laid a hidden danger for these experiments. It is possible that the same genetic mutations represent different meanings in different patient populations. Seltzer also gave an example of his own point of view:
“Loxo Oncology has encountered great difficulties in larotrectinib drug development. At that time, the data of NTRK gene fusion was too little, and this indicator will not appear in the routine diagnosis. FDA received Loxo in March. The application, but the actual approval time was delayed until November 26 of that year.”