Arena’s diet drug castoff deemed safe in study; UK price overseers say breakthrough CAR-T Yescarta is too expensive

Arena Pharmaceuticals never could make much money from their weight loss drug Belviq (lorcaserin). But at least researchers have good reason to believe it’s relatively safe. A long-running safety study concluded that there was “no statistical difference in the proportion of patients with a major adverse cardiovascular event between the group that received lorcaserin (6.1 percent) versus in those that received placebo (6.2 percent) at study completion.” And the drug did deliver a consistent benefit for patients, with the drug group losing an average of 9.3 pounds compared to 3 pounds in the placebo group. Arena dropped out of the flagging weight loss drug field more than 18 months ago, handing over rights to Eisai. 

→ UK drug price watch dog NICE says that Gilead is trying to price its groundbreaking CAR-T drug Yescarta too high. The price overseers spurned the drug a day after European regulators provided a thumbs-up on marketing. But it won’t be available on the NHS unless the big biotech is ready to drop the price lower. Novartis’ rival Kymriah — also approved Monday — is under review now.

Editas Medicine is searching for a new exec to steer the first clinical tests of its CRISPR gene editing tech as CMO Gerald Cox plans to depart the company at the end of the year. Cox, a 16-year Sanofi Genzyme vet who joined Editas in 2016, did not give a reason for his resignation except that it “felt like a natural transition point.” Cox will continue to lead the efforts in submitting Editas’ first IND, which is expected in 2018.

The best place to read Endpoints News? In your inbox.

Comprehensive daily news report for those who discover, develop, and market drugs. Join 51,100+ biopharma pros who read Endpoints News by email every day.

Free Subscription

VP Oncology Biology
Skyhawk Therapeutics Waltham, MA
Director Process Development
Elektroki Boston, MA
Director Process Development
Elektroki Boston, MA
Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT

Visit Endpoints Careers ->