Just a few days after lining up $57.5 million in near-term cash from a high-profile collaboration deal with AstraZeneca on its Anticalin platform, one of Pieris’ other partners unceremoniously swept out one of their clinical-stage therapies in a Q1 pipeline cleanup.
DS-9001 was dropped by Daiichi Sankyo after investigators reviewed the data they had on the Phase I therapy targeting PCSK9. Pieris $PIRS has been working for years on engineering proteins that are lighter and more versatile than antibodies, so that they can work where antibodies find their entry barred.
Altogether Daiichi Sankyo got rid of a half-dozen clinical programs, including its late-stage program involving ArQule’s $ARQL tivantinib, which we already know proved to be a failure. A Phase II diabetes drug, a GPR119 agonist dubbed DS-8500, also didn’t make the cut.
There’s no lengthy reason given for these cuts, other than a brief note about their portfolio review or a reference to the data they were seeing. At the same time Daiichi was dropping their Pieris drug, though, PCSK9 drugs have been proving to be hard to sell, as Amgen and its rivals at Regeneron and Sanofi have learned the hard way. The Medicines Company also has a PCSK9 drug it’s working on that has the potential to work just as well with infrequent dosing.
Like Takeda, the Japanese pharma company has been working on retooling its R&D group. Back in February the company put out the word that it is shuttering a research hub in Japan with 150 researchers, transferring the work to other units. That followed closely on the heels of an announcement that it closed a site in India, axing 170 staffers.
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