Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase is a novel target for B-Cell Malignancies

ASH-2011-Poster-Session-Photo- ©-Icarus-Consultants ASH 2011 Poster Session

Two Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (BTK) inhibitors in clinical development (PCI-32765 & AVL-292) generated a lot of interest at the recent American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting in San Diego.

Sally Church on Pharma Strategy Blog has been following BTK as a novel drug development target, and saw its potential in early data presented at ASH 2010 and ASCO 2011.

Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase is a critical kinase for lymphoma cell survival and proliferation. It plays an important role in B-lymphocyte development, differentiation and signaling. As Sally noted on Pharma Strategy Blog:

“It is a critical part of the BCL pathway that leads to cell proliferation, so targeting it leads to cell death or apoptosis.”

Sally’s insightful blog post goes into more detail on the Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase clinical data presented at ASH by Dr Susan O’Brien (MD Anderson Cancer Center).

A number of companies are now taking an interest in BTK inhibition. Johnson & Johnson announced a $1B licensing deal for PCI-32765 just prior to the meeting. Sally’s analysis of this was:

“Based on the data seen over the last two years, I thought they got a steal”

BTK inhibition looks to be a promising target for B-cell malignancies such as non-hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) & chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). This is good news for patients.

BTK inhibitors are a new class of targeted therapies that we can expect to hear more about in the future.

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