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In Brief This Week: FIND, Alverno Laboratories, F-star Therapeutics, Lantern Pharma

NEW YORK –  FIND and Kilele Health Association said this week that they have launched a coalition to increase cervical cancer screening in sub-Saharan Africa. The coalition comprises community and civil society organizations who will identify obstacles to screening for the disease. They also will raise awareness of preventive measures, press to accelerate progress toward national elimination targets by 2030, and provide user-led feedback and preferences to inform the development and scale-up of new testing technology and strategies, the partners said. Insight from the coalition will shape FIND's goal to increase access to cervical cancer screening and hasten the elimination of cervical cancer, they added. Kilele Health is a grassroots nonprofit organization based in Nairobi, Kenya, with a goal to reduce the burden, severity, and impact of cancer and other noncommunicable diseases. 

Alverno Laboratories will make Ibex Medical Analytics AI-powered cancer diagnostics available to all pathologists in Alverno's network as part of a deal announced this week. Specifically, Ibex's Galen suite of products will be made available to practitioners in Alverno's network, which includes 30 hospital labs in Indiana and Illinois. Ibex's products include the Galen Breast and Galen Prostate tests. The Israel-based firm announced this week that the UK National Health Service is making the company's tests available to 25 NHS trusts. 

F-star Therapeutics said this week that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States cleared its all-cash acquisition by InvoX Pharma, the final regulatory approval needed to complete the previously announced merger on March 8. F-star's pipeline includes clinical stage bispecific antibodies directed against immuno-oncology targets LAG-3, OX40, and CD137/PD-L1, plus a next-generation STING agonist. 

Lantern Pharma said this week that it has formed a wholly owned subsidiary dubbed Starlight Therapeutics to develop its investigational agent LP-184 as a treatment for central nervous system cancers including glioblastoma, brain metastases, and rare pediatric CNS cancers. With the new subsidiary formation, the asset will be renamed STAR-001. The firm expects to begin a Phase Ia basket trial of STAR-001 as treatment for cancers, including solid tumors with DNA damage repair deficiencies, in mid-2023. Lantern plans to provide machine learning-based bioinformatic and computational biology support for Starlight. 

AstraZeneca said this week that its EGFR inhibitor Tagrisso (osimertinib) prolonged overall survival versus placebo as adjuvant treatment for early-stage EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer patients in the Phase III ADAURA trial. Tagrisso received US Food and Drug Administration approval for this indication in 2020, at which time oncologists disagreed on whether the disease-free survival data on which the FDA approval was based was sufficient evidence of Tagrisso's adjuvant benefit. 

China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) this week conditionally approved gumaronitinib, jointly developed by Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica and Haihe Biopharma, as a treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients whose tumors harbor MET exon 14 skipping mutations. Chinese regulators based their decision on the results of a Phase II trial, in which gumaronitinib treatment resulted in a 65.8 percent objective response rate. Since gumaronitinib has conditional approval, the sponsors will need to validate the drug's benefit in confirmatory trials. 

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared in Precision Oncology News.