At Refresh in Paris, I had the opportunity to ask Eva-Lotta Allan,CBO of one of Europe’s hottest companies, Immunocore, some pointed questions.
Immunocore is famous as one of the biggest biotech successes in Europe: the company raised the largest round ever on the continent (€300M!), built a solid technological platform and recruited top talents to manage it all. But is the field really all it’s cracked up to be? Commentators increasingly focus on the hype surrounding immuno-oncology as a field generating a lot of money but not many results (yet).
To close our second edition of Refresh, I discussed the field of immuno-oncology and Immunocore‘s position in it with the company’s CBO, Eva-Lotta Allan. The day before, immuno-oncology suffered another setback as two more patients died in Juno’s CAR-T trial, and this news provided a somber frame for the conversation.
“I think what happened yesterday is really an indication that all immuno-oncology drugs are still experimental,” said Eva-Lotta. “Though we shouldn’t forget that checkpoint inhibitors have been incredibly successful so far.” On Immunocore’s technology, Eva-Lotta commented, “We’ve published some very encouraging clinical data on efficacy and safety.” No doubt that the data is what convinced smart investors like the Baker Brothers and Neil Woodford to jump on board!
On the field in general, she remarked that immuno-oncology “is a big leap forward in medicine…with immuno-oncology, (I don’t want to use the C-word, but) the aim is obviously to cure cancer.” She almost mentioned that if the technology is successful, its application could be expanded to even develop an HIV cure!
We covered a lot of topics from the goals of Immunocore and its progress towards them to immuno-oncology in general and the accompanying market and commercialization strategies. Check out the video to hear it all!