Aravive Inc.’s only asset missed a phase III primary endpoint in ovarian cancer but still has studies planned for treating renal cell carcinoma and pancreatic cancer. The company’s stock (NASDAQ:ARAV) had dwindled at midday, with shares trading 70% lower at 36 cents each. There were 366 participants enrolled in the phase III study of batiraxcept for treating platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. The clinical trial failed to hit its progression-free survival primary endpoint in a subset of patients who were naïve to previous bevacizumab treatment. The data showed no difference between the two arms of the overall population, which were those taking batiraxcept and paclitaxel and those taking paclitaxel and a placebo.
Blueprint Ayvakit numbers disappointed some, CDK2 prospect alluring
The stock hit taken by Blueprint Medicines Corp. after its second-quarter financial report rolled out Aug. 2 may have had to do with some investors’ hopes for Ayvakit (avapritinib), for which the recently broadened label allowed Blueprint to treat indolent systemic mastocytosis. Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond, though, assessed the launch as “so far, so good.” And hope remains high for the firm’s cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 2 inhibitor BLU-222. Such enthusiasm is fueled by success with several first-generation CDK4/6-selective inhibitors in breast cancer.
Academic researcher named to fill Fauci’s shoes at NIAID
While U.S. politics continues to delay Senate confirmation of the NIH director, other crucial positions at the agency that don’t require Senate action are being filled. Following a recent trend of bringing new leadership in from outside the agency, Acting NIH Director Lawrence Tabak announced Aug. 2 that he has named Jeanne Marrazzo as director of the agency’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Currently the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Marrazzo is expected to begin her new role in the fall.
Amarin taps Lotus in SE Asia, Korea for Vazkepa
Amarin Corp. plc has chosen Taiwan-based Lotus Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., to make headway in Southeast Asia and South Korea for its omega-3 fatty acid-based Vazkepa, its icosapent ethyl drug that’s facing increasing generic and pricing pressure in the U.S. and Europe. Amarin granted Vazkepa rights to Lotus for exclusive distribution and commercialization in South Korea and nine ASEAN countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In exchange, Amarin gains an undisclosed up-front payment along with pricing, reimbursement and sales milestone payments based on net sales of the product.
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