In one of the year’s biggest deals, Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) is buying Turning Point Therapeutics Inc. for about $4.1 billion to get at a potential cancer blockbuster, repotrectinib. The oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor, Turning Point’s lead asset, targets ROS1 and TRK in treating ROS1-positive metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. Once the deal closes, BMS’ acquisition of Turning Point would be the second largest of the year. The biggest remains Pfizer Inc.’s purchase of San Diego’s Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $6.7 billion in March. BMS said it expects to finance the purchase of Turning Points’ common stock at $76 per share with cash on hand. Turning Point’s stock more than doubled at midday as shares (NASDAQ:TPTX) were going for about $74 each.

Lung cancer data help move the market as ASCO begins

The world’s biggest cancer-focused conference began today as more than 40,000 attendees are expected at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual gathering. The conference is being held in live in Chicago and is also available virtually. Among the more than 2,500 abstract presentations in about 120 subject subcategories are potential breakthroughs in treating non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from Cullinan Oncology Inc., Immutep Ltd. and Surface Oncology Inc. Each company has seen upticks in their stock value, some as much as 10%, during the week as the conference approached and their data is presented. NSCLC is the third most-common cancer in the U.S. The conference runs through June 7.

Phase III mantle cell lymphoma data detailed as ASCO kicks off

As the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting began, experts discussed abstracts related to presentations due to roll out during the course of the weekend event. On the table were primary results from the double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, phase III Shine study of Imbruvica (ibrutinib, Abbvie Inc./Johnson & Johnson) in combination with bendamustine‐rituximab and rituximab maintenance therapy as a first‐line treatment for older patients with mantle cell lymphoma. Imbruvica improved progression-free survival by 50%. Also detailed were phase III results from a study testing anti-EGFR antibody nimotuzumab combined with gemcitabine vs. gemcitabine alone in K‐ RAS wild‐type locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Izokibep hits its marks in phase II psoriatic arthritis trial

Affibody AB and its development partners Acelyrin Inc. and Inmagene Biopharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. are accelerating plans to move the interleukin-17A inhibitor izokibep (formerly ABY-035) into phase III studies in psoriatic arthritis following better-than-expected phase II efficacy combined with an apparently clean safety profile. Early last month, the companies disclosed that izokibep, which is based on Affibody’s recombinant protein format of the same name, attained the primary endpoint of the placebo-controlled study. That was based on the ACR50 (American College of Rheumatology) response – a minimum 50% improvement vs. baseline in the number of tender or swollen joints and in several other patient- and physician-reported disease parameters. The partners disclosed numerical data on this and several key secondary endpoints at the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) meeting in Copenhagen this week.

US federal government ramping up enforcement on life science companies

Drug and device makers are necessarily wary of any activities that could lead to prosecution under the False Claims Act (FCA), but seemingly innocuous activities are now fair game for federal prosecutors. The latest example is the FCA prosecution of Caris Life Sciences Inc. for filing claims for cancer tests outside the 14-day post-discharge window, and Mark Gardner, directing attorney at Gardner Law of Stillwater, Minn., told BioWorld that device makers should be on the alert because it appears that federal authorities are ramping up enforcement.

The BioWorld Insider Podcast: New therapies vie to build on holistic care, change fatal course of ALS

As multidisciplinary care extends survival and improves the quality of life for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), can a host of new ALS drugs vying to slow its progression make a difference? A surprise extension of the U.S. FDA review for Amylyx Therapeutics Inc.’s AMX-0035 to review new data, plus near-term readouts from a major ALS platform trial may soon provide answers. Join the BioWorld Insider podcast as we talk with executives from Amylyx and Clene Inc., and a key Penn State ALS expert on what the future of medicine may hold for ALS patients.

Also in the news

Abbvie, Accutar, Aeglea, Affini-T, Algotx, Alnylam, Alterity, Ampio, Anji, Apnimed, Astrazeneca, Athersys, Axsome, Biovaxys, Boehringer Ingelheim, Braxia, Bristol Myers Squibb, Centessa, Dyve, Elucida, Epicentrx, Epizyme, Etirarx, Erasca, Evofem, Immunic, Gamida Cell, Helsinn, Hookipa, Iaso, Immunocore, Innate, Intensity, Megakaryon, Mereo, Myovant, Neuvivo, Nirvana, NLS, Nordic Nanovector, Onkure, Opiant, PDS, Pfizer, Pharmnovo, Resilience, Sapience, Takeda, TC, Transcenta, Vaxart, Vectivbio, Viracta