Giovanni Caforio, Bristol Myers Squibb CEO (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bris­tol My­er­s' next-gen im­munol­o­gy med busts Am­gen's Ote­zla in head-to-head study. Is a show­down com­ing?

In an im­munol­o­gy mar­ket packed with block­buster bi­o­log­ics, Bris­tol My­ers Squibb hopes that its oral drug for milder cas­es could carve out a lu­cra­tive foothold. Now, with its eyes set on bust­ing Am­gen’s Ote­zla, the drug­mak­er is rolling out full da­ta from a pair of late-stage stud­ies that bode well for its can­di­date.

Bris­tol My­ers’ TYK2 in­hibitor deu­cravac­i­tinib sig­nif­i­cant­ly cut pso­ri­a­sis pa­tients’ dis­ease ac­tiv­i­ty and spurred clear­er skin at four months than pa­tients dosed with Am­gen’s Ote­zla or place­bo, ac­cord­ing to da­ta from two Phase III stud­ies pre­sent­ed Fri­day at the vir­tu­al Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Der­ma­tol­ogy meet­ing.

In terms of PASI 75, a mea­sure of dis­ease sever­i­ty, 58.7% and 53.6% of pa­tients on deu­cravac­i­tinib achieved PASI 75 re­sponse re­spec­tive­ly, in the PO­E­T­YK-PSO-1 and PO­E­T­YK-PSO-2 stud­ies. Mean­while, just 12.7% and 9.4% of place­bo pa­tients and 35.1% and 40.2% of pa­tients on Ote­zla achieved the same.

Even more promis­ing for Bris­tol My­ers, deu­cravac­i­tinib main­tained its edge over Ote­zla be­tween 24 and 52 weeks of treat­ment. At the six-month check-in, 69.0% and 59.3% of pa­tients on deu­cravac­i­tinib hit PASI 75 ver­sus 38.1% and 37.8% on Ote­zla. Of those deu­cravac­i­tinib pa­tients who hit the PASI 75 mark at six months, 82.5% and 81.4% main­tained that re­sponse at the one-year check in.

Deu­cravac­i­tinib showed sim­i­lar­ly high­er rates of skin clear­ance than place­bo and Ote­zla with a slight­ly high­er rate of se­vere side ef­fects than Am­gen’s drug.

Bris­tol My­ers is call­ing the re­sults sig­nif­i­cant even though the da­ta didn’t come with p-val­ues. Ei­ther way, it’s a strong show­ing from its drug, a TYK2 in­hibitor Bris­tol My­ers hopes will ush­er in a next gen­er­a­tion of im­munol­o­gy meds.

The drug­mak­er un­corked top-line da­ta from these stud­ies back in Feb­ru­ary, high­light­ing deu­cravac­i­tinib’s im­por­tant role in dri­ving the com­pa­ny’s pipeline suc­cess. At JP Mor­gan in Jan­u­ary, Bris­tol My­ers tout­ed the drug as one of four ma­jor block­buster pro­grams in the pipeline with the po­ten­tial to earn more than $4 bil­lion a year. The oth­er three were mava­camten, ac­quired in the MyoKar­dia buy­out, along with the ane­mia drug Re­blozyl and the can­cer cell ther­a­py fran­chise.

Un­like the bi­o­log­ics that have come to dom­i­nate the mar­ket, Bris­tol My­ers is aim­ing deu­cravac­i­tinib at milder pa­tients who pre­fer a more con­ve­nient oral dose. Re­searchers hope the TYK2 path­way will of­fer a safer al­ter­na­tive than the JAK class, which has been dogged by safe­ty flags since its in­cep­tion. The case in point there is Pfiz­er’s Xel­janz, which has failed to cap­i­tal­ize on its ear­ly promise with a black box warn­ing for throm­bo­sis and se­ri­ous in­fec­tions, among oth­er things.

The Fac­tors Dri­ving a Rapid Evo­lu­tion of Gene & Cell Ther­a­py and CAR-T Clin­i­cal Re­search in APAC

APAC is the fastest growing region globally for cell & gene therapy trials representing more than a third of all cell & gene studies globally, with China leading in the region. 

APAC is the leading location globally for CAR-T trials with China attracting ~60% of all CAR-T trials globally between 2015-2022. The number of CAR-T trials initiated by Western companies has rapidly increased in recent years (current CAGR of about 60%), with multiple targets being explored including CD19, CD20, CD22, BCMA, CD30, CD123, CD33, CD38, and CD138.

The End­points 11; blue­bird's $3M gene ther­a­py; Bio­gen tout new neu­ro da­ta; Harsh re­views for can­cer drugs; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

Reading about John Carroll’s pick of biotech’s most promising startups has become a treasured tradition. If you ever get curious about previous classes of the Endpoints 11, you can find all of them (plus a number of our other regular specials) here.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

EMA warns of short­ages of two Boehringer heart drugs due to a spike in de­mand

The EMA is putting EU member states on alert over the shortage of two drugs that counter heart attacks due to an uptick in demand.

On Friday, the EMA sent out a warning that two Boehringer Ingelheim drugs are experiencing a shortage: Actilyse and Metalyse. The drugs are used as emergency treatments for adults experiencing acute myocardial infarction, or a heart attack, by dissolving blood clots that have formed in the blood vessels.

The End­points 11: The top pri­vate biotechs in pur­suit of new drugs. Push­ing the en­ve­lope with pow­er­ful new tech­nolo­gies

Right around the beginning of the year, we got a close-up look at what happens after a boom ripples through biotech. The crash of life sciences stocks in Q1 was heard around the world.

In the months since, we’ve seen the natural Darwinian down cycle take effect. Reverse mergers made a comeback, with more burned out shells to go public at a time IPOs and road shows are out of favor. And no doubt some of the more recent arrivals on the investing side of the business are finding greener pastures.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

As­traZeneca, Mer­ck cull one Lyn­parza in­di­ca­tion in heav­i­ly pre­treat­ed ovar­i­an can­cer pa­tients

Just one day after blockbuster Lynparza got access to another indication in China, its Big Pharma owners have decided to withdraw it in certain patients after reviewing Phase III data.

The two companies that work together on Lynparza decided to recall one of the indications several weeks ago in a specific type of ovarian cancer, Lynparza’s first indication when it was first FDA-approved in 2014. Initial data showed that rates of overall survival in patients with at least three rounds of chemo before getting on the PARP inhibitor were lower than in patients with less previous chemo treatment.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Mene Pangalos (AstraZeneca via YouTube)

As­traZeneca shuts the PhI­II door for Ion­is' PC­SK9 drug de­spite pos­i­tive PhI­Ib

When Ionis and AstraZeneca unveiled the first round of mid-stage data for their antisense PCSK9 drug, Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s EVP of biopharmaceuticals R&D, underscored the drug’s “potential best-in-class efficacy profile.”

But now that the second batch is in, it appears AZD8233 isn’t hitting the mark after all.

Ionis announced Friday morning that although the candidate, also dubbed ION449, met the primary endpoint in the Phase IIb SOLANO trial, its partners at AstraZeneca have decided not to move it into Phase III studies because the “results did not achieve pre-specified efficacy criteria.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Up­dat­ed: Bio­gen throws it­self back in­to mud­dled da­ta ar­gu­ments with more de­tails on its an­ti­sense ALS drug

With a highly watched FDA decision deadline coming in late January, Biogen and Ionis dropped the full data on the Phase III study of their ALS drug tofersen in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

Biogen is looking for approval for tofersen in a very small subset of ALS patients — some 2%, according to the paper — who have a SOD1 gene mutation, which has previously been linked to ALS. Tofersen is meant to reduce levels of mutant SOD1 proteins.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 150,800+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Fu­ji­film con­tin­ues CD­MO ex­pan­sion, break­ing ground on $435M UK site

Fujifilm’s CDMO arm, Fujifilm Diosynth, has been on a roll this month as the company has recently broken ground on a major project in Europe and it appears to be keeping up the momentum.

Fujifilm Diosynth announced that it has kicked off an expansion project for its microbial manufacturing facility at its campus in the town of Billingham, UK, in the northeast of England.

The 20,000 square-foot, £400 million ($435 million) expansion will add clean rooms, purification suites and a packing area along with more space for the manufacturing itself.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar

Should SCO­TUS hear Am­gen's Repatha case? So­lic­i­tor gen­er­al says no

Back in April, Amgen said it was encouraged by the solicitor general’s anticipated review of its Supreme Court petition to rehear a Repatha patent case. They’re likely much less optimistic about the outcome now.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in a recent 27-page brief that Amgen’s arguments “lack merit and further review is not warranted.”

The case traces back to a suit filed in 2014 against Sanofi and Regeneron’s Praluent, which ended up beating Amgen’s PCSK9 blockbuster Repatha to market by a month just a year later.