It took a few years and three tries, but Heron Therapeutics Inc. finally got its pain drug, HTX-011, now branded Zynrelef, over the FDA finish line. Even so, the approval comes with a less broad label than Heron would have liked. Zynrelef (bupivacaine and meloxicam), which had a May 12 PDUFA date, is approved for use in adults for soft tissue or periarticular instillation to produce postsurgical analgesia for up to 72 hours after bunionectomy, open inguinal herniorrhaphy and total knee arthroplasty.
In an unusual move, three members of the Nov. 6 FDA advisory committee that voted against recommending approval of Biogen Inc.’s high profile Alzheimer’s disease candidate, aducanumab, have doubled down on their argument in an editorial published in JAMA on March 31.
The first BCMA-targeted CAR T therapy, idecabtagene vicleucel, cleared FDA approval for use in adults with multiple myeloma (MM) who have received four or more prior lines of therapy. Developed by partners Bluebird Bio Inc. and Bristol Myers Squibb Co., the drug, branded Abecma, is also the first CAR T drug indicated for MM. It is designed for use as a one-time infusion, with a recommended dose range of 300 to 460 x 106 CAR-positive T cells. The personalized therapy will be produced at BMS’ cellular manufacturing facility in Summit, N.J. Bluebird developed the lentiviral vector used in Abecma.
Barely five and a half years since the company was founded, Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has moved its first drug over the finish line, winning FDA approval for interleukin-1 blocker (IL-1) rilonacept to treat recurrent pericarditis and reduce the risk of recurrence in adults and children 12 and older.
In a move that caught analysts and investors by surprise, the FDA rejected Athenex Inc.’s NDA for Oraxol, its oral version of paclitaxel, for use in metastatic breast cancer, citing safety risks and questioning the reliability of the clinical data supporting the application.
Investing in biopharma has never been for the faint of heart. So headline figures unveiled from a clinical development success report during the BIO CEO & Investor Conference Feb. 17, putting the average likelihood of a drug entering phase I development ultimately achieving approval at 7.9% and the average drug development timeline at 10.5 years, appear largely unsurprising. But the addition of machine learning capabilities to the mix helped identify those factors that have the greatest impact on predictive outcome.
As expected, G1 Therapeutics Inc.’s Cosela (trilaciclib) won FDA approval for use in extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, becoming the first proactively administered myelopreservation therapy to hit the market.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s angiopoietin-like 3 (ANGPTL3)-targeting antibody, Evkeeza (evinacumab), won FDA approval for use in reducing LDL cholesterol in patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
While it’s too late to save the contingent value rights connected with the acquisition of Celgene Inc., Bristol Myers Squibb Co.’s CD19-targeted CAR T therapy, lisocabtagene maraleucel, for treating certain types of relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma patients who have received at least two prior therapies, won FDA approval.