Reconsidering Relevance in Oncology: Is the Market Immune to Your Non-IO Assets?


  • Jeffrey M. Bockman, PhD, Executive Vice President, Head of Oncology Practice, Defined Health
  • Michael C. Rice, MS, MBA, Principal, Defined Health
  • Joel Sandler, PhD, Associate Principal, Defined Health

Immuno-oncology has rapidly become the hottest space in cancer, if not all of drug development. While the first systematic study of immunotherapy for the treatment of malignant tumors was begun in 1891 by William B. Coley, his work and that of many of his successors has only recently been getting its due, largely thanks to the dramatic clinical benefit offered by novel immunotherapy modalities such as the checkpoint inhibitors and CAR T-cell technologies being advanced by Pharma and Biotech.

The first modern IO asset, Yervoy, was approved only 5 short years ago, and the frenzied pace of financings and deal-making has really picked up only in the past several years. In this context, we consider the fate of all of those non-IO assets that came before. Are they being discontinued, or repositioned overnight as IO or, at the very least, IO-friendly modalities? Defined Health has been very busily assisting our oncology-focused (both IO and non-IO) clients on how best to position themselves in this brave new world. And while it’s true that IO is and will continue to be transformative to the industry and, ultimately, the lives of cancer patients, it is also true that many of the non-IO assets populating our clients’ portfolios can and will continue to play an important role in the management of cancer.

Defined Health invites you to a unique forum in which three of Defined Health’s lead oncology consultants will discuss and debate the finer points of how non-IO assets have, can, and should be positioned and partnered in the context of this rapidly evolving competitive landscape; i.e., what it means to be relevant in this modern age of cancer drug development.