FDA OKs Tesaro’s ni­ra­parib for ovar­i­an can­cer, hand­ing the biotech a big win on the la­bel


The FDA has wast­ed no time in giv­ing Tesaro $TSRO a broad ap­proval for the use of its PARP drug ni­ra­parib, which will now be mar­ket­ed as Ze­ju­la as a main­te­nance ther­a­py for re­cur­rent ovar­i­an can­cer.

The OK and the la­bel that came with it rep­re­sents a set­back for Myr­i­ad Ge­net­ics $MYGN, which had ar­gued that its com­pan­ion di­ag­nos­tic would be need­ed to iden­ti­fy a spe­cif­ic group of ovar­i­an can­cer pa­tients with a bio­mark­er in­di­cat­ing that they would most like­ly ben­e­fit. But reg­u­la­tors blew past any di­ag­nos­tic qual­i­fi­ca­tion in giv­ing Tesaro the la­bel that it was look­ing for, vin­di­cat­ing CEO Lon­nie Moul­der’s vow that he could get an OK aimed at a large seg­ment of the mar­ket.

Tesaro had ar­gued that the ef­fi­ca­cy da­ta for ni­ra­parib qual­i­fied for an ap­proval for use in pa­tients who are ei­ther HRD pos­i­tive or HRD neg­a­tive. But they were op­posed by a part­ner who had a sol­id busi­ness case for ar­gu­ing that the drug should be re­served for pa­tients who would be most like­ly to ben­e­fit.

In the end, though, Tesaro is left with a big boast in its fa­vor: “Ze­ju­la is the on­ly PARP in­hibitor that has demon­strat­ed a clin­i­cal­ly mean­ing­ful in­crease in pro­gres­sion-free sur­vival (PFS) in women with re­cur­rent ovar­i­an can­cer, re­gard­less of BR­CA mu­ta­tion or bio­mark­er sta­tus.”

The OK al­so helps po­si­tion Tesaro against As­traZeneca, which just de­liv­ered stel­lar Phase III da­ta on its PARP Lyn­parza. Clo­vis, mean­while, gained an ap­proval for its PARP Rubra­ca late last year as a treat­ment for BR­CA-mu­tat­ed ovar­i­an can­cer that had proved re­sis­tant to at least two pri­or ther­a­pies.

It’s a trans­for­ma­tion­al mo­ment for Tesaro. Its drug was list­ed by Eval­u­atePhar­ma as one of the top drugs in the in­dus­try’s pipeline this year, with peak sales ex­pec­ta­tions hov­er­ing close to $2 bil­lion a year. And its stock climbed about 6% in af­ter-mar­ket trad­ing.

The ap­proval came months ahead of the FDA’s PDU­FA dead­line in June, in­di­cat­ing its in­ter­est and un­der­stand­ing of the field.

Mary Lynne Hed­ley, Tesaro

Ze­ju­la’s la­bel notes that it is in­di­cat­ed for the main­te­nance treat­ment of adult pa­tients with re­cur­rent ep­ithe­lial ovar­i­an, fal­lop­i­an tube, or pri­ma­ry peri­toneal can­cer who are in a com­plete or par­tial re­sponse to plat­inum-based chemother­a­py. And Tesaro im­me­di­ate­ly fol­lowed the news of the OK with plans to open up on the R&D pro­gram for the drug.

“Based on the un­prece­dent­ed re­sults of the NO­VA tri­al in women with re­cur­rent ovar­i­an can­cer, we pre­vi­ous­ly an­nounced the ex­pan­sion and re­fine­ment of our PRI­MA and QUADRA tri­als to in­clude a broad pa­tient pop­u­la­tion, and in the case of PRI­MA, elim­i­nat­ed the en­roll­ment re­quire­ment for a bio­mark­er se­lect­ed tu­mor. With the ap­proval of ZE­JU­LA in hand, we will now be­gin to ex­e­cute on our plans to pur­sue po­ten­tial­ly trans­for­ma­tion­al ap­pli­ca­tions of ni­ra­parib in a broad range of metasta­t­ic can­cer in­di­ca­tions,” said Mary Lynne Hed­ley, pres­i­dent and COO of TESARO. “We plan to ex­pand our first-line ovar­i­an can­cer strat­e­gy to in­clude a com­bi­na­tion study that as­sess­es the po­ten­tial ben­e­fit of ni­ra­parib plus an an­ti-PD-1 an­ti­body in the main­te­nance set­ting and ini­ti­ate a clin­i­cal study of ni­ra­parib in com­bi­na­tion with be­va­cizum­ab in pa­tients with a first re­cur­rence of ovar­i­an can­cer, with an in­tent to re­place chemother­a­py in this set­ting. We re­main strong­ly com­mit­ted to study­ing ni­ra­parib in the breast can­cer set­ting and al­so ex­pect to ini­ti­ate a new tri­al of ni­ra­parib in com­bi­na­tion with an an­ti-PD-1 an­ti­body in women with metasta­t­ic triple-neg­a­tive breast can­cer. Fi­nal­ly, our goal to move ni­ra­parib in­to in­di­ca­tions be­yond ovar­i­an and breast can­cers en­com­pass­es plans to ini­ti­ate a reg­is­tra­tion strat­e­gy for the first-line treat­ment of pa­tients with metasta­t­ic non-small cell lung can­cer that in­cludes a phase 2 tri­al of ni­ra­parib in com­bi­na­tion with an an­ti-PD-1 an­ti­body in pa­tients, re­gard­less of PDL-1 tu­mor ex­pres­sion, and a phase 3 tri­al of ni­ra­parib in com­bi­na­tion with an an­ti-PD-1 an­ti­body in pa­tients with high lev­els of PDL-1 tu­mor ex­pres­sion.”

Susan Galbraith, AstraZeneca EVP, oncology R&D, at EUBIO22 (Rachel Kiki for Endpoints News)

Up­dat­ed: As­traZeneca jumps deep­er in­to cell ther­a­py 2.0 space with $320M biotech M&A

Right from the start, the execs at Neogene had some lofty goals in mind when they decided to try their hand at a cell therapy that could tackle solid tumors.

Its founders have helped hone a new approach that would pack in multiple neoantigen targets to create a personalized TCR treatment that would not just make the leap from blood to solid tumors, but do it with durability. And they managed to make their way rapidly to the clinic, unveiling their first Phase I program for advanced tumors just last May.

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Ei­sai’s ex­pand­ed Alzheimer’s da­ta leave open ques­tions about safe­ty and clin­i­cal ben­e­fit

Researchers still have key questions about Eisai’s investigational Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab following the publication of more Phase III data in the New England Journal of Medicine Tuesday night.

In the paper, which was released in conjunction with presentations at an Alzheimer’s conference, trial investigators write that a definition of clinical meaningfulness “has not been established.” And the relative lack of new information, following topline data unveiled in September, left experts asking for more — setting up a potential showdown to precisely define how big a difference the drug makes in patients’ lives.

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Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

Twit­ter dis­ar­ray con­tin­ues as phar­ma ad­ver­tis­ers ex­tend paus­es and look around for op­tions, but keep tweet­ing

Pharma advertisers on Twitter are done — at least for now. Ad spending among the previous top spenders flattened even further last week, according to the latest data from ad tracker Pathmatics, amid ongoing turmoil after billionaire boss Elon Musk’s takeover now one month ago.

Among 18 top advertisers tracked for Endpoints News, only two are spending: GSK and Bayer. GSK spending for the full week through Sunday was minimal at just under $1,900. Meanwhile, German drugmaker Bayer remains the industry outlier upping its spending to $499,000 last week from $480,000 the previous week. Bayer’s spending also marks a big increase from a month ago and before the Musk takeover, when it spent $16,000 per week.

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Vi­a­tris with­draws ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for top­i­cal an­timi­cro­bial 24 years lat­er

After 24 years without confirming clinical benefit, the FDA announced Tuesday morning that Viatris (formed via Mylan and Pfizer’s Upjohn) has decided to withdraw a topical antimicrobial agent, Sulfamylon (mafenide acetate), after the company said conducting a confirmatory study was not feasible.

Sulfamylon first won FDA’s accelerated nod in 1998 as a topical burn treatment, with the FDA noting that last December, Mylan told the agency that it wasn’t running the trial.

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Tim Walbert, Horizon Therapeutics CEO (via YouTube)

Hori­zon Ther­a­peu­tics in takeover talks with Am­gen, J&J, Sanofi as po­ten­tial buy­ers

Amgen, J&J’s Janssen and Sanofi are all in talks to acquire Horizon Therapeutics, the rare disease biotech disclosed late Tuesday.

Horizon confirmed “highly preliminary discussions” with those companies regarding a potential buyout offer after the Wall Street Journal reported takeover interest.

Although the company — which commands a market cap of close to $18 billion — emphasized that “there can be no certainty that any offer will be made for the Company,” shares $HZNP still surged 31% in after-hours trading to near $103, bringing it to the point where it started the year.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er, BioN­Tech re-up iHeartRa­dio hol­i­day spon­sor­ship; WHO re­names mon­key­pox to 'm­pox'

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Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO (AP Images)

Nestlé re­con­sid­ers peanut al­ler­gy pro­gram two years af­ter $2.6B buy­out

It seems Nestlé is experiencing some buyer’s remorse two years after throwing down $2.6 billion for Aimmune Therapeutics and its peanut allergy pill Palforzia.

CEO Mark Schneider announced on Tuesday that Nestlé is “exploring strategic options” for Palforzia following lower-than-expected demand. A company spokesperson declined to confirm whether a potential sale is in consideration.

“The review is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023. Going forward, Nestlé Health Science will sharpen its focus on Consumer Care and Medical Nutrition,” the company said in a news release.

Sana, Codex­is lay off staff, reshuf­fle pipeline in bid to fo­cus cell ther­a­py, en­zyme en­gi­neer­ing work

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Jeb Keiper, Nimbus Therapeutics CEO

PhI­Ib win puts Nim­bus one step clos­er to chal­leng­ing Bris­tol My­ers in TYK2

Bristol Myers Squibb might be the first to clinch an FDA approval for a TYK2 inhibitor, but Nimbus Therapeutics is out to prove that it has the best drug in the class. The biotech says it now has positive mid-stage data to back up those claims — although it’s saving the hard numbers for now.

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