"Innovation is at an all-time high, and we are just scratching the surface of new modalities such as cell and gene therapy. We are very optimistic that our industry will be developing many new and important drugs and technologies to meet these growing unmet medical needs."
Oncology IPOs are increasingly happening at an earlier stage of development. At what stage of development would you look to invest in a biotech?
There have been a number of high-profile platform biotech companies that have gone public at a very early stage. It used to be an unwritten rule that a biotech had to be in a clinical stage before having an IPO. However, today, there are more platform companies going public before their first clinical candidate. As a public investor, I tend to wait until there is early proof of concept in an indication, especially in oncology where pre-clinical models are notoriously unpredictable.
Apart from clinical data results, what attracts you to make an investment in a biotech?
As a public investor, we get involved with companies when we can predict future success. We invest when there is reasonable certainty based upon the scientific mechanism, the pre-clinical data and/or the clinical data. In fields like oncology, we feel very optimistic when we see early monotherapy efficacy in clinical studies, as this is drug activity.
What technological advancements have caught your attention in the oncology space?
Oncology is one of MPM Capital’s main focus areas, and the exclusive focus of our Oncology Impact Fund. Within oncology, we are active in cell therapy, which has demonstrated dramatic efficacy in several hematological cancers. One of our recent IPOs, TCR2 Therapeutics, is developing a T-cell therapy, which may be effective in solid tumors. We believe that solid tumors are the next unchartered territory within the cell therapy space and will be able to address a much larger population of patients.
What is your long-term vision for the UBS Oncology Impact Fund and how do you expect the oncology space to transform within the next few years?
The fundamentals of the industry continue to be strong for biotechnology and especially oncology. First of all, the 65 patient population over 65 is set to double over the next twenty years, and as a result there will be a doubling of oncology patients. Innovation is at an all-time high, and we are just scratching the surface of new modalities such as cell and gene therapy. We are very optimistic that our industry will be developing many new and important drugs and technologies to meet these growing unmet medical needs.