Past not prologue

How luck and good timing factored into Loxo’s back-to-back home runs at ASCO

Loxo Oncology Inc.’s two-year streak of stunning data at ASCO appears to be the result of good decisions on the back of a healthy dose of luck. But it will be a tall order to make it a hat trick, given the third program is lined up more to meet a known need than break new ground.

Loxo’s first two programs came out of a 2013 partnership with Array BioPharma Inc., which yielded larotrectinib (LOXO-101) and LOXO-292, two compounds at the leading edge of a trend toward redefining cancers based on molecular profile rather than tissue of origin.

In both cases, Loxo benefited from good timing, coming on the heels of FDA discussions around tissue-agnostic drug development. The larotrectinib program, developed prior to the collaboration’s start, delivered a ready-made, first-in-class molecule against the neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor (Trk) -- a target Loxo was already eyeing.

“It was serendipitous with regards to the Array collaboration,” said CBO Jake Van Naarden. “It’s rare to have an emerging target paired with a purposely built drug

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