Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Posts tagged ‘herceptin’

“Ipilimumab is not recommended for the treatment of advanced (unresectable or metastatic) malignant melanoma in people who have received prior therapy.

The Committee was satisfied that ipilimumab meets the criteria for being a life-extending, end-of-life treatment and that the trial evidence presented for this consideration was robust.

The Committee acknowledged that few advances had been made in the treatment of advanced melanoma in recent years and ipilimumab could be considered a significant innovation for a disease with a high unmet clinical need.

Way back in November 2009 at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Molecular Targets meeting in Boston, there was a fascinating poster on the early promise for nanotechnology as a new form of efficient drug delivery for cancer therapeutics (see the blog post here).

Fast forward 18 months and my attention was drawn to a new article published in Cancer Research about how nanotechnology has been used preclinically to deliver therapy for breast cancer into the cancer cells rather than to the cells.  This is a subtle, but important, difference.


Interesting news arrived in my email box this morning:

"Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Refuse to File letter for accelerated approval for the company’s trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1) Biologics License Application (BLA). As planned Roche will continue with its ongoing Phase III EMILIA registration study. Roche will continue to work with the FDA and expects a global regulatory submission of T-DM1 mid 2012.


At last weeks investor meeting held by Roche in downtown Wall Street, the Board reviewed the pipeline opportunities in a number of areas.  Earlier this week I wrote about the non-oncology pipeline and today will form an overview of the cancer drugs in development.

One of the things that Roche is renowned for is life cycle management.  They do this better than many in the industry in my opinion and it makes an enormous difference not only to continuity, but also long term revenues and performance. Too many companies take a short term view and do not think ahead to the future. This is a big mistake. Perhaps they get bogged down in classic silos or management do not see it as a priority, but it does make a difference. 


Last night many people in the NY-NJ-CT region missed the Oscars beamed from the Academy Awards after an argument over money between CableVision and ABC.  If a Biotech company and their big Pharma partner has a spat, it is rarely as public or has as much impact as TV deals do, but the shock waves can certainly be felt through the investor community every time a high profile predatory shareholder such as Carl Icahn gets their teeth into a biotech such as Genzyme or Biogen IDEC.

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Things were so busy in the Icarus office yesterday I didn’t get a moment to post on the Roche/Genentech news that the latest topline phase III trial analysis for bevacizumab (Avastin) were disappointing.  The company announced the findings in a press release:

“Avastin (bevacizumab) in combination with Xeloda (capecitabine) or fluorouracil and cisplatin chemotherapy in patients with inoperable, advanced or metastatic gastric cancer (stomach cancer). The study, known as AVAGAST, did not meet its primary endpoint of extending overall survival in patients treated with Avastin in combination with chemotherapy compared to the same chemotherapy plus placebo.”

Updated Survival Analysis of a Randomized Study of Lapatinib Alone or in Combination with Trastuzumab in Women with HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Progressing on Trastuzumab Therapy. 

Blackwell KL, Burstein HJ, Sledge GW, Stein S, Ellis C, Casey M, Baselga J, O'Shaughnessy J

Background: The synergistic interaction of lapatinib combined with trastuzumab was established in HER2-positive preclinical models, hence providing the rationale to evaluate this combination in a clinical setting. Progression-free survival (PFS) from study EGF104900 revealed the combination of lapatinib plus trastuzumab was superior to lapatinib alone in women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) that progressed on multiple lines of trastuzumab-based therapy. Preliminary data showed a trend in overall survival (OS) favoring the combination therapy; however, data were not mature. Updated OS analyses are reported. 

The American Cancer Society estimates 183,000 new cases of breast
cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year with more than
40,000 dying from the disease.  A portion of these are women who have triple negative breast cancer, which confers a poorer prognosis.

Triple negative breast cancer occurs where the tumour does not express
estrogen (ER) or progesterone (PR)  receptors or HER2 protein.  This means that standard
treatment with hormone blocking agents and agents that target HER2
such as tamoxifen and
Herceptin respectively, are ineffective weapons against this subtype of breast
cancer.  Women with triple negative breast cancer generally have shorter survival than those who are ER/PR positive.   Identifying better combinations of chemotherapy
and novel biologic agents that are effective in this disease is
therefore critical.

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