Drug and device companies dragging their feet on diversifying late-stage clinical trials could conceivably get a wake-up call in court or in FDA approval delays. A final guidance the FDA released in November suggests that the days of ignoring segments of the intended treatment population until safety signals flare in real-world use are coming to an end.
Astrazeneca plc officials, during the firm’s Feb. 11 conference call on fourth-quarter earnings, highlighted the oral selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) camizestrant in breast cancer (BC), which Cristian Massacesi, head of late-stage oncology development, said bears “best-in-class potential, in terms of providing superior clinical benefit at a well-tolerated dose” of 75 mg once per day.
Hopes that a second clinical win for Otonomy Inc.'s phase III Meniere's disease candidate, Otividex, might set the stage for a third-quarter registration of the drug in the U.S. have been dashed, sending company shares (NASDAQ:OTIC) down 44.3% to $3 on Feb. 22. For the intent-to-treat (ITT) population, the trial missed its primary endpoint, the count of definitive vertigo days in month three for the sustained-exposure dexamethasone therapy vs. placebo. The trial also failed to achieve statistical significance for a per-protocol analysis. It was déjà vu for the company, which suffered a harsh reaction to an earlier setback for the program from which its stock has yet to recover, years later.
Although progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) tends to draw more hoopla in the race, and Mirum Pharmaceuticals Inc. looks due to beat Albireo Pharma Inc. to market in Alagille syndrome (ALGS), the most revenue likely lies in a third rare pediatric liver disease where the firms compete: biliary atresia (BA). Mirum, of Foster City, Calif., completed its rolling NDA several weeks ago for maralixibat – an inhibitor of the apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter designed to drive more excretion of bile acids as a way of lowering their level systemically – in cholestatic pruritus in patients with ALGS one year of age and older.
LONDON – The first population-level real world data on COVID-19 vaccines indicate they are having a dramatic impact on severe disease, with a study in Scotland showing a fall of 85% in hospital admissions for people who received the Pfizer Inc./Biontech SE product, and a drop of 94% for those who had Astrazeneca plc’s vaccine, four weeks after receiving the first dose.
As developers continue their race in the anti-CD47 space, Gilead Sciences Inc. remains high profile with magrolimab, which has reached phase III development for myelodysplastic syndromes. Meanwhile, Alx Oncology Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., is emerging with potentially the first drug targeting the CD47-SIRPa axis to treat solid tumors as well as hematologic malignancies.