We anticipate scientific reviews and clinical trial updates from 40 companies on nearly 80 oncology development programs at the upcoming American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, which will take place April 5-10 in San Diego.

small-cap biotech company developing new oncology drug

The information coming out of AACR will be crucial for identifying emerging molecular targets and promising new drugs for cancer treatment. The majority of AACR updates will be for programs in preclinical development, so these data readouts will shed light on pathways and drugs we are expecting these companies to move into the clinic in the near future.

Updates from small-cap biotech companies will account for almost all of the scheduled AACR presentations. These readouts also represent the future line-up for potential licensing and M&A activity for BioPharm companies seeking to augment their early-stage oncology portfolios.

Here we highlight seven small-cap biotech companies with exciting science and multiple program updates expected at AACR:

ADC Therapeutics (ADCT)

As the name suggests, this company is focused on developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a treatment modality that has recently experienced an explosion of interest. In addition to having a promising R&D pipeline, ADC Therapeutics has demonstrated that they can successfully bring a drug to market with ZYNLONTA (loncastuximab tesirine) for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). ADC Therapeutics will present six updates at AACR between April 7 and 9, covering a significant portion of their pipeline. We expect four of their presentations to cover preclinical ADC programs for the treatment of solid tumors across four molecular targets: Claudin-6, NaPi2b, AXL, and DLK1 (ADCT-701 in adrenocortical carcinoma). From their clinical pipeline, they will be presenting dosing outcomes for a phase 1b trial of mipasetamab uzoptirine (ADCT-601-102) and pharmacology modeling for combination treatments with loncastuximab tesirine. With reported cash on hand of $279 million and an expected runway extended into 4Q 2025 (as of 12/31/23), ADC Therapeutics will need to deliver good news at AACR to justify a full build-out of these development programs and deliver on the promise of their pipeline.

Foghorn Therapeutics (FHTX)

Foghorn has a number of exciting first-in-class drugs coming out of their discovery platform, most of which will be reviewed at AACR from April 8-10. Specifically, Foghorn will be providing updates on EP300, FHD609, and FHD909 from their preclinical and phase one portfolio. As of the end of 2023, Foghorn held $234 million in cash, and it had a runway into the first half of 2026.

Pyxis Oncology (PYXS)

Pyxis will be presenting three of its innovative programs over four presentations from April 7-8. We expect to hear highlights for two of their portfolio stars, which are their phase 1 antibody-drug conjugate PYX-201 and phase 1 Siglec-15-targeting antibody PYX-106. We will also hear efficacy outcomes for PYX-102, which Pyxis has highlighted as an out-licensing candidate. As of the end of 2023, Pyxis had sufficient expected liquidity to support operations into the second half of 2026.

Prelude Therapeutics (PRLD)

Prelude is pursuing multiple therapeutic pathways, and we are looking forward to learning more about their progress from the three posters they are presenting on April 9. They will offer updates on PRT7732, an oral SMARCA2 degrader that represents the core of their pipeline’s value; CDK9 inhibitor PRT2527; and PRT3645, which Prelude describes as a next-generation CDK4/6 inhibitor with data supporting its use beyond breast cancer. Prelude reports a runway into 2026, with over $23 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities as of December 31, 2023.

Tango Therapeutics (TNGX)

Tango highlights its promising CRISPR-based target discovery platform, which we will learn more about across no less than eight presentations at AACR between Aril 7 and 9. We are specifically interested in the scheduled updates on two of their first-in-pathway preclinical small molecule programs, TNG260 and TNG348, and their development strategy for TNG917. This program is not yet mentioned on their website. As of 12/31/23, Tango reported a strong cash position of over $300 million and a runway into late 2026 with sufficient funding for all clinical programs through proof-of-concept.

Verastem Oncology (VSTM)

Verastem is a small but exciting company currently developing first-in-pathway small-molecule drugs for patients with RAS/MAPK-driven cancers. At AACR between April 8-10, Verastem is presenting five posters on the progress of their compounds in combination with other treatments across a number of tumor types. In particular, we are expecting to hear about preclinical outcomes for VS-7375 in combination with GenFleet’s GFH375, as well as avutometinib’s (VS-6766) efficacy in pancreatic cancer. Verastem ended the fourth quarter of 2023 with cash and equivalents of $137 million.

Werewolf Therapeutics (HOWL)

Werewolf will present data on its two latest preclinical proinflammatory immune modulators. On April 9, we will learn more about WTX-712, a specialized IL-21, and WTX-518, an IL-18. Both of these molecules are conditionally activated. As of December 31, 2023, the company announced that its current cash position will be sufficient to fund operational expenses and capital expenditure requirements through at least the second quarter of 2025.

About the Authors at OZMOSI

At OZMOSI we blend decades of BioPharm industry experience with fully integrated clinical trial and pipeline data analysis and reporting. Our clinical trial data is model and dashboard-ready with indexing that seamlessly connects daily trial updates to FDA approvals, SEC filings, and the latest news events. Through the integration of AI and machine learning, OZMOSI builds solutions that allow our customers to track BioPharm company clinical development programs more consistently and accurately than they have ever been able to do before. Through our data and catalyst-event trackers, our clients can predict BioPharm R&D headlines before they happen.