Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Posts tagged ‘Abbott’

Today’s Science Friday post looks at the identification of a potential new biomarker and possible strategies for expanding use of PARP inhibitors in patients most likely to respond to them as a way to validate the the approach prospectively.  This has important implications for future clinical trial designs with this class of drugs.

Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland via flickr

Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland via flickr

Regular readers will be very familiar at my rants against broad catch-all studies and phase III trials with targeted agents that do not have a biomarker or even a logical well defined subset of patients because it’s akin to blindfolding an archer, turning him around 360 degrees and then asking him to hit a bullseye 50 or 100 yards hence.

Yesterday evening, Gilead announced that the Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) had recommended early stoppage of the 116 trial, which looks at idelalisib in relapsed/refractory disease in patients who are not eligible for chemotherapy.  These patients usually have comorbidities or are elderly and frail, and often receive chlorambucil or rituximab alone.  The study compared the combination of idelalisib plus rituximab versus rituximab alone.

Fortunately, the early stoppage was for a good reason – the interim analysis demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in PFS in favour of the combination over rituximab alone.  Adverse events were consistent with previous experience of the drug.

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Now that the dust has settled on the news from sanofi-aventis yesterday that iniparib did not achieve it’s primary survival endpoints in the phase III trial in newly diagnosed triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), it’s time to take stock of this class.

Yesterday was another major snow shovelling day in New Jersey so I missed the AstraZeneca year end conference call.  A Pharma Strategy Blog reader kindly filled me in with some relevant information – the company discontinued the development of their PARP inhibitor, olaparib, in BRCA breast cancer – scroll down to the discontinued section to see the note.


A short while ago on this blog we began a series on Making a Difference about people in the cancer field who have a real passion and excitement for lasting and impactful change. The first one was an interview with Alain Moussy of AB Science in Paris.

image from Today, I had the pleasure of chatting with the admirable Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, formerly Head of R&D at Genentech and now Chancellor at UCSF. It’s a strange business sometimes as we were both working in industry at the same time on different targeted cancer drugs in liquid and solid tumours but our paths never crossed, although it seems we share similar views on cancer drug development, ie purer targeted agents and finding faster ways to market for effective therapies that impact the lives of people with cancer.


While listening to last week's presentation by BMS on their pipeline, one slide in particular caught my attention:

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Source: BMS

Now, it wasn't the fact that BMS were second in their table of Total Shareholder Return (TSR) that was interesting to me, but that Abbott were first, and by a long way, according to the chart above.  Of course, shareholder return is only one measure of performance and says nothing at all about putting customers and patients first, but that is another story/blog.

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