UP­DAT­ED: FDA can­cels ODAC meet­ing this week as Se­cu­ra Bio pulls ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval

The FDA’s On­co­log­ic Drugs Ad­vi­so­ry Com­mit­tee has de­cid­ed to can­cel a planned meet­ing on Thurs­day to dis­cuss two can­cer drugs that pre­vi­ous­ly won ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­provals but failed to con­firm clin­i­cal ben­e­fit in re­quired fol­low-up tri­als or have tak­en a long time to fin­ish those tri­als.

Se­cu­ra Bio said late Tues­day af­ter­noon that it’s de­cid­ed to pull its third-line mul­ti­ple myelo­ma drug Fary­dak, first ap­proved un­der the ac­cel­er­at­ed path­way in 2015.

The com­pa­ny, which bought the drug from No­var­tis in 2019, ex­plained its de­ci­sion by say­ing, “it was not fea­si­ble for the com­pa­ny to com­plete the re­quired post-ap­proval clin­i­cal stud­ies as de­signed as part of the ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval process. Be­cause those stud­ies were re­quired to ver­i­fy and de­scribe the clin­i­cal ben­e­fit of the drug prod­uct, the clin­i­cal ben­e­fit of Fary­dak has not been con­firmed un­der the spe­cif­ic con­straints of the ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval process.”

ODAC was al­so set to dis­cuss Acrotech Bio­phar­ma’s Mar­qi­bo, a third-line drug for adult pa­tients with Philadel­phia chro­mo­some neg­a­tive acute lym­phoblas­tic leukemia. Nei­ther Acrotech nor its par­ent com­pa­ny Au­robindo has re­spond­ed to a re­quest for com­ment.

In the case of Fary­dak, No­var­tis won the ini­tial ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval in 2015 but said it like­ly wouldn’t start the con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al for al­most three years, and the FDA gave the com­pa­ny un­til this year to fin­ish both of its re­quire­ments.

In the case of Mar­qi­bo, Talon Ther­a­peu­tics ini­tial­ly won the ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval in 2012 based on da­ta from a sin­gle Phase II tri­al. Spec­trum Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals then ac­quired Talon and the drug for about $11 mil­lion in 2013. In 2018, Spec­trum re­port­ed about $5.5 mil­lion in Mar­qi­bo sales, and then pro­ceed­ed to sell the drug a year lat­er with six oth­er can­cer drugs to Au­robindo Phar­ma’s sub­sidiary Acrotech for $160 mil­lion up­front.

Mean­while, Talon had ini­tial­ly agreed to sub­mit the re­sults of its con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­al to the FDA more than three years ago, but it re­mains un­known if that sub­mis­sion oc­curred.

The push to re­view these two dan­gling ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­provals fol­lowed an­oth­er ODAC meet­ing last sum­mer to re­view six oth­er in­di­ca­tions, four of which the com­mit­tee end­ed up rec­om­mend­ing re­main on the mar­ket. Since then, three in­di­ca­tions have been pulled vol­un­tar­i­ly by the com­pa­nies, and one has gone on to nab a full ap­proval.

The FDA said in a state­ment that the meet­ing “is no longer need­ed” but did not of­fer fur­ther de­tail on why ex­act­ly it was can­celed, telling End­points News to con­tact the com­pa­nies.

Ed­i­tor’s note: This ar­ti­cle has been up­dat­ed with new in­for­ma­tion from Se­cu­ra Bio.

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In­no­v­a­tive MedTech De­mands Spe­cial­ist Clin­i­cal Tri­al Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs and De­sign

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Tony Coles, Cerevel CEO

Cerev­el takes the pub­lic of­fer­ing route, with a twist — rais­ing big mon­ey thanks to ri­val da­ta

As public biotechs seek to climb out of the bear market, a popular strategy to raise cash has been through public offerings on the heels of positive data. But one proposed raise Wednesday appeared to take advantage not of a company’s own data, but those from a competitor.

Cerevel Therapeutics plans to raise $250 million in a public offering and another $250 million in debt, the biotech announced Wednesday afternoon, even though it did not report any news on its pipeline. However, the move comes days after rival Karuna Therapeutics touted positive Phase III data in schizophrenia, a field where Cerevel is pursuing a similar program.

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Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' 2022 spe­cial re­port

Over the past three years, Endpoints News has spotlighted 60 women who have blazed trails and supercharged R&D across the biopharma world. And judging from the response we’ve received, to both our special reports and live events, telling their stories — including any obstacles they may have had to overcome — has inspired our readers in many different ways.

But change takes time, and the fact remains that women are still underrepresented at the upper ranks of the drug-making world.

Hervé Affagard, MaaT Pharma CEO

One year in­to clin­i­cal hold, FDA has more ques­tions about 'pooled' mi­cro­bio­me ther­a­py

The FDA is still wary about a trial testing a microbiome therapy in patients with steroid-resistant acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD).

A year after MaaT Pharma’s IND application in the US was first met with a clinical hold, the French biotech said the agency is maintaining the hold. The crux of the matter, MaaT suggested, has to do with the way it puts together its drug candidate, which is administered as an enema (i.e. an injection of fluid into the bowel).

Bernat Olle, Vedanta Biosciences CEO

Cit­ing 'chal­leng­ing eco­nom­ic en­vi­ron­ment,' PhI­II-ready mi­cro­bio­me biotech lays off 20% of staffers

The market downturn isn’t just sweeping up public biotechs.

Vedanta Biosciences, a developer of oral drugs derived from the human microbiome, is laying off about 20% of its staff — an unfortunately common occurrence these days. But CEO Bernat Olle took the unusual step of sharing the decision on LinkedIn and offering to connect the employees being let go with any company that’s hiring in their areas.

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Up­dat­ed: Amid mas­sive re­struc­tur­ing, Bio­gen looks to re­duce phys­i­cal pres­ence in Boston

Biogen is putting a sizable chunk of office and research space in Kendall Square and Weston, MA up for sublease, marking another big change as the biotech grapples with the aftershock of a disastrous and controversial rollout for its Alzheimer’s drug.

The subbleases are “part of Biogen’s overall implementation of the ‘Future of Work,’ which is allowing us to optimize our footprint and reduce the amount of space we occupy, taking into consideration new elements such as the hybrid work model,” Biogen spokesperson Ashleigh Koss wrote in a statement to Endpoints News, adding that the company has had subleases across several buildings for years.

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Robert Califf, FDA commissioner (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Hop­ing to ex­pand mon­key­pox vac­cine sup­ply, US paves the way for new route of ad­min­is­tra­tion

After making it clear that the US’ current monkeypox vaccine supply is insufficient, the FDA on Tuesday authorized a new route of administration that should increase the number of available doses by five-fold.

Regulators cleared Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine for intradermal injection in adults older than 18. Unlike subcutaneous injection — the current method by which vaccine is delivered under the skin — an intradermal jab goes directly into the skin. It’s believed that this method requires less vaccine, since the dermis is rich in dendritic cells which specialize in taking up foreign antigens and presenting them to the immune system, according to Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO (Isaac Brekken/AP Images for NFL, File)

Up­dat­ed: FDA slaps Ama­zon with a warn­ing let­ter for sell­ing OTC mole re­moval prod­ucts

The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research on Tuesday released a warning letter sent last week to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in Seattle for selling mole removal products over-the-counter, or, as the FDA explains, “introducing, delivering, or causing the introduction or delivery into interstate commerce of products that are unapproved new drugs.”

“There are no over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that can be legally sold for mole or skin tag removal, and FDA has safety concerns about drugs marketed OTC directly to consumers for these uses,” the agency said in its Aug. 4 warning.

Pfiz­er launch­es re­bate pro­gram for rare dis­ease pa­tients who have to stop tak­ing Panzy­ga

Pfizer is launching its second-ever rebate program, this time for Panzyga, its treatment for a rare neurological disease of the peripheral nerves.

The program began last month, according to STAT which first reported the news, and offers a refund of out-of-pocket costs for patients who must discontinue their course before the fifth treatment for “clinical reasons.”

Panzyga was approved back in 2018 to treat primary immunodeficiency (PI) in patients two years and older and chronic immune thrombocytopenia (cITP) in adults. It has since picked up an indication in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a condition that’s characterized by weakness of the arms or legs, tingling or numbness, and a loss of deep tendon reflexes, according to the NIH.