Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Posts tagged ‘veliparib’

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.

Last week the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) held a press briefing to highlight some of the studies at the forthcoming annual meeting in Chicago next month.

ASCO Annual Meeting 2011 Patients, Progress, PathwaysASCO president, Dr George Sledge of Indiana, announced that the meeting theme for this year is “Patients, Pathways, Progress” to reflect the growing focus on molecular targets to identify and treat patients more effectively.

Traditionally, ASCO has organised their meeting around tumour types such as breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers, for example, but this year I was delighted to see that the Developmental Therapeutics section is getting more attention with a greater focus on the molecular targets that are now emerging:


A PSB reader wrote in asking whether an update on the PARP inhibitors and the clinical trials would be possible.   Following on from the last update in January that covered Sanofi’s negative iniparib phase III data in triple negative breast cancer and AstraZeneca’s decision in February not to pursue olaparib in hereditary BRCA1 and 2 positive breast cancers, it would be a good idea to see what’s left of this once highly promising class of compounds.

I first wrote about PARP inhibitors way back in 2006 and like many, I’m rather disappointed with the results we’ve seen so far.  However, all is not lost.  Abbott’s veliparib is going strong, while Pfizer (PF-01367338) and Cephalon (CEP-9722) are just getting started with their programs.


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.

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