Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (SNTA)

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Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (SNTA)

Investor Meeting and Webcast at the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting

June 03, 2013 8:00 pm ET


Safi R. Bahcall - Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Neil Spector

Suresh Ramalingam

John Heymach

Philip Bonomi

Vojo Vukovic - Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Clinical Research & Regulatory Affairs

David Gandara


Safi R. Bahcall

All right, thank you all for coming. We're going to get started. I've asked -- just a couple of logistics. I've asked the panelists to sit up front. They're going to come up in about 20 minutes for a Q&A panel that we're going to have. I'll do a brief welcome. We're very fortunate to have Dr. Neil Spector from Duke here today. He's going to do an introduction to an overview of ganetespib. Dr. Spector has been in academia, had a very distinguished career before he joined industry. And he has had a terrific career since he has joined industry. And you'll hear from him, he's been involved in Hsp90 for many years. Then we're very happy that he has to put on his tennis shoes and run downstairs to a parallel session that we're having for investigators on our clinical trials. So we apologize in advance. He -- immediately after his presentation, he is going to run downstairs. And then we have Dr. Suresh Ramalingam, who is the principal investigator on our GALAXY-1 clinical trial that just presented just about an hour ago at the oral lung session at ASCO. And he'll take you through an abbreviated form of the slide so we can get quickly to a Q&A panel. And we have some guests, and we are very pleased to have in addition Dr. David Gandara, who is the chair of the Southwest Oncology Group and also a very distinguished lung cancer oncologist who has participated in a number of our advisory boards.

So let me just do the -- as I mentioned, this is a -- we're very happy today to have principal investigators from our 2 principal programs in lung cancer and breast cancer. Before I turn this over to Neil, what I hope you will get out of today and what we decided to do is put on a list the top 5 questions that we've heard today. So I hope today, you will get answers to these questions. If you do not, please ask around. We'll give you George Farmer's home phone number, home address, or just pose the questions to the Internet. I'm sure we'll get to them in time.

So first question, results on the diagnosis, 6 month group. How are those? So what's the maturity? How is that involving with time? How are people supposed to think about that? What about the medians? Why was a Cox regression provided? What about the curves crossing on the right of the graph? And how robust or how commonplace is this disease progression by velocity criteria? I think Dr. Ramalingam will talk about it. And then we'll have a panel. We'll open it up to Q&A from the audience, and we'll go through a number of these questions.

So without further ado, let me turn it over to Dr. Spector.

Neil Spector

All right, thank you. Thanks, Safi. It's a pleasure to be here. So I was -- I told my daughter when I made this slide, when she saw 1989, I said that it's amazing what a 10-year-old, what kind of research it could do at the age of 10. So -- but it's true, before I -- when I was a fellow at the Dana-Farber, I was very much involved in he tried heat shock protein research before it was as big as it is today. And then subsequently, I went into industry and helped develop Tykerb HER2 breast cancer drug and some others, and now I'm back in academia. So it's a great -- it's really a thrill to actually be here talking about Hsp-- an Hsp90 inhibitor that actually is demonstrating activity in the clinic because it's for me sort of coming full circle and seeing the realization of a dream.

I want to point this out because this is really a major -- I mean, I still see patients, I have a laboratory. But one of the really the major dilemmas in treating cancer patients and in developing therapeutics is the molecular heterogeneity in cancer. So this is a paper in The New England Journal that essentially show that if you take biopsies from millimeter to millimeter in a primary tumor, that there's tremendous heterogeneity. So if you're a drug developer, what are you going to develop a drug against? This millimeter or this millimeter? And that not even really taking into account the heterogeneity between different sites of disease. So the primary tumor -- this pointer doesn't work -- but the primary tumor where you might get a biopsy and do a genomic analysis and say, well, that's where we're going to treat on versus the disease that might be down there in the liver and one that might be up in the bone [ph].

So it'd be nice to have a drug or might -- it'd be nice to have a therapeutic strategy that didn't worry about the millimeter to millimeter variation and can target hundreds of proteins all at once, that might be involved in that site of disease, that site of disease and that site of disease. Okay?

So as I said, I've been involved and I've had an interest in the heat shock world for a long time, and we've seen a variety of inhibitors come and go. So the geldanamycin inhibitors came and went. There were some second-generation serinex-sited [ph] inhibitor. Most of these are really [ph] the lousy drugs from a pharmacokinetic standpoint. They just weren't good drugs as far as achieving good drug levels. Or they had toxicity, retinal toxicity and other toxicities, that were just intolerable and were not developable from that standpoint. Synta has been very lucky that ganetespib is not only a good drug from a pharmacokinetic standpoint but also seems to lack the other toxicities that the ones that came before had. So no visual toxicity, no liver toxicity and is much more potent and impressive than the geldanamycin derivatives.

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