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The companies unblinded data from CARTITUDE-4, which met its primary endpoint, but analysts citing KOLs said they continue to face issues with limited manufacturing slots and out-of-spec product.
The UK biotech will use the funds to advance the development of its first-in-class ERAP1 inhibitor, which could circumvent the limitations of poor tumor visibility and T cell exhaustion.
Scrip surveys the Phase III clinical trial readout landscape and picks 10 of the more interesting studies set to report in 2023, with a few added extras. AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, Novartis and Roche feature heavily.
With successful Phase III data, Merck will look to add biliary tract cancer to Keytruda’s label, but it will discontinue a Phase III study in prostate cancer after an interim analysis showed no survival benefit.
Emerging Company Profile: The UK biotech is working to expedite its portfolio of acquired drug candidates for cancer through the clinic before out-licensing to big pharma in a bid to bring patients the treatments they need sooner rather than later.
The Japanese pharma agreed to pay $400m up front plus up to $730m in milestones for a colorectal cancer drug already on the market in China and nearing regulatory filings in the US, EU and Japan.
The BTK inhibitor demonstrated superiority to AbbVie/J&J’s Imbruvica for overall response in relapsed/refractory CLL, in addition to hitting a progression-free survival endpoint versus chemotherapy in the first-line.
The French firm unveiled data from its pancreatic cancer trial showing Onivyde plus chemotherapy improved median PFS by just over a month compared with current treatment of choice but failed to beat its overall survival benchmark.
The fear of going out of business before getting a drug submitted to regulators is one that a couple of European biotechs have had to face up to this week.
Merck Research Laboratories president Dean Li said there is no ideal product mix for the company, but noted cancer drugs will remain a priority given the groundwork Keytruda laid for Merck in oncology.
The firm’s Tecentriq has bounced back from recent setbacks with a pivotal success in the adjuvant liver cancer setting.
After a comparatively subdued 2022 in terms of M&A and other deal-making, a strengthening currency and interest in new areas such as digital tools and cell and gene therapy might see a rebound in activity this year, which should also see domestic approvals of several potential blockbusters and more support for bioventures.
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