AstraZeneca had a pretty rough few years of R&D setbacks and failures up until 2012, when its former chief, David Brennan, was all but pushed out as a result. But things seem to have steadied somewhat since Pascal Soriot took the helm.
Merck had a major trial win last fall when its marketed checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda scored in first-line lung cancer patients. Just a few weeks later, it was given the nod from the FDA in this key, lucrative setting.
Wistar Institute scientists have found a class of drugs that effectively dampened PD-L1 activity in ovarian cancer, even though it does not directly target PD-L1. Called bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) inhibitors, multiple candidates are in clinical trials for other cancers.