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Volume 19 Issue 1, January 2020

Targeting tumour cell plasticity, inspired by the Review on p39.

Cover design: Susanne Harris.


  • This year marks the tenth anniversary of the TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT), a group of multidisciplinary experts that evaluates drug development programmes for rare neuromuscular diseases and identifies pitfalls. Here, we discuss the experience with TACT based on its reviews of more than 50 applications and its potential as a model for other rare disorders.

    • Kathryn R. Wagner
    • Annamaria De Luca
    • Volker Straub


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News & Analysis

  • Immunotherapies that activate costimulatory receptors on T cells have failed so far in the clinic, but the first phase III trial of an agonist antibody in cancer has just begun and second-generation candidates are advancing.

    • Ken Garber
  • Continued VC largesse and a maturing biotech industry in China helped boost 2019’s IPO totals.

    • Chris Morrison
  • News in Brief

  • Biobusiness Briefs

  • An Audience With

    • With Takeda’s US$62 billion acquisition of Shire in 2018, the Japanese firm scored a spot as a top 10 pharmaceutical firm. But well before the deal was even on the radar, President of R&D Andy Plump and CEO Christophe Weber were already working to transform the company. Once a small-molecule specialist, it is now embracing new modalities to be better positioned to follow the biology of disease. Once internally focused, it is now partnering whenever possible both to bring compelling new projects in and to let promising assets out. And Plump, now celebrating 5 years at the firm, is ready to showcase Takeda’s new look. He spoke with Asher Mullard about Takeda’s plans to leapfrog competitors in immuno-oncology, cellular therapy, rare diseases, gene therapy and more.

      • Asher Mullard
      An Audience With
  • From the Analyst's Couch

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Research Highlights

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  • Genomic screenings have enabled the discovery of synthetic lethal partners as potential drug targets in cancer. This Review discusses how the genetic concept of synthetic lethality paired with CRISPR-based functional genomic screening can be applied to identify additional synthetic lethal pairs as new and druggable cancer targets.

    • Alan Huang
    • Levi A. Garraway
    • Barbara Weber
    Review Article
  • Cell plasticity has emerged as a mode of targeted therapy evasion in various cancers. This Review discusses the different mechanisms that drive tumour cell plasticity and the potential therapeutic strategies to target them in order to achieve more durable clinical responses.

    • Soufiane Boumahdi
    • Frederic J. de Sauvage
    Review Article
  • Fibrosis features in numerous chronic diseases, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and heart failure, and no existing therapies can prevent or reverse this abnormal deposition of extracellular matrix, which leads to organ dysfunction. Here, Liu and colleagues describe how this energy-intensive process could be targeted by therapies that interfere with metabolism, including the metabolic implications of drugs directed at transforming growth factor-β and the deposition of extracellular matrix.

    • Xiao Zhao
    • Jennifer Yin Yee Kwan
    • Fei-Fei Liu
    Review Article
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