Find­ing a win­ner in VX-445, Ver­tex hus­tles CF com­bo to reg­u­la­tors on both sides of At­lantic

The ver­dict is in from Ver­tex’s clin­i­cal team.

The biotech was pre­sent­ed with a pleas­ant dilem­ma in March when a cock­tail for cys­tic fi­bro­sis mix­ing VX-​445, teza­caftor and iva­caftor passed Phase III with fly­ing col­ors, match­ing the re­sults they got for VX-659 with the oth­er two drugs, al­so known as Symdeko and Ka­ly­de­co. That left ob­servers hang­ing as to which com­bo will head to reg­u­la­tors.

Ver­tex ul­ti­mate­ly de­cid­ed to go with VX-445 — af­ter re­view­ing some more da­ta it’s dis­clos­ing to­day.

Resh­ma Ke­wal­ra­mani Ver­tex

At week 24 of treat­ment, pa­tients with one F508del mu­ta­tion and one min­i­mal func­tion mu­ta­tion on the drug main­tained ab­solute im­prove­ment in per­cent pre­dict­ed forced ex­pi­ra­to­ry vol­ume in one sec­ond of 14.3% (p<0.0001). For a key sec­ondary end­point, the same group of pa­tients saw a 63% re­duc­tion in the an­nu­al­ized rate of pul­monary ex­ac­er­ba­tions com­pared to place­bo, with the same stel­lar p-val­ue.

As pre­vi­ous­ly re­port­ed, pa­tients on the VX-445 triple had their ppFEV1 im­prove by an av­er­age of 13.8% at week 4. In a sep­a­rate tri­al for VX-​659, the num­ber was 14%.

“Peo­ple with CF who have one F508del mu­ta­tion and one min­i­mal func­tion mu­ta­tion are the largest re­main­ing group of CF pa­tients with­out a treat­ment op­tion for the un­der­ly­ing cause of their dis­ease,” CMO Resh­ma Ke­wal­ra­mani said in a state­ment.

The biotech fur­ther not­ed that the de­ci­sion “was based on a de­tailed as­sess­ment of mul­ti­ple fac­tors, in­clud­ing fa­vor­able pro­files for safe­ty, tol­er­a­bil­i­ty and drug-drug in­ter­ac­tions, the abil­i­ty for co-ad­min­is­tra­tion with hor­mon­al con­tra­cep­tives, and the lack of pho­to­sen­si­tiv­i­ty.”

Ver­tex will now take these da­ta, along­side an­oth­er 4-week Phase III study CF pa­tients with two F508del mu­ta­tions, to the FDA in Q3 and then the EMA in Q4.

Cred­it Su­isse an­a­lysts are ful­ly on board with the plan, say­ing it sig­nals a “clear path for­ward for the triple com­bo, with longer-term da­ta sup­port­ing con­tin­ued ef­fi­ca­cy. We ex­pect ap­proval in 1H20, al­low­ing the co. to treat 90% of CF pts WW. OUS re­im­burse­ment ques­tions re­main.”


Im­age: Ver­tex Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Op­ti­miz­ing Cell and Gene Ther­a­py De­vel­op­ment and Pro­duc­tion: How Tech­nol­o­gy Providers Like Corn­ing Life Sci­ences are Spurring In­no­va­tion

Remarkable advances in cell and gene therapy over the last decade offer unprecedented therapeutic promise and bring new hope for many patients facing diseases once thought incurable. However, for cell and gene therapies to reach their full potential, researchers, manufacturers, life science companies, and academics will need to work together to solve the significant challenges facing the industry.

Amid mon­key­pox fears, biotechs spring to ac­tion; Mod­er­na’s CFO trou­ble; Cuts, cuts every­where; Craft­ing the right pro­teins; 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.

It’s always a bittersweet moment saying goodbye, but as Josh Sullivan goes off to new adventures we are grateful for the way he’s built up the Endpoints Manufacturing section — which the rest of the team will now carry forward. If you’re not already, this may be a good time to sign up for your weekly dose of drug manufacturing news. Thank you for reading and wish you a restful weekend.

Bay­er sounds re­treat from a $670 mil­lion CAR-T pact in the wake of a pa­tient death

Two months after Atara Biotherapeutics hit the hold button on its lead CAR-T 2.0 therapy following a patient death, putting the company under the watchful eye of the FDA, its Big Pharma partners at Bayer are bowing out of a $670 million global alliance. And the move is forcing a revamp of Atara’s pipeline plans, even as research execs vow to continue work on the two drugs allied with Bayer 18 months ago, which delivered a $60 million cash upfront.

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Try­ing to shake up the Parkin­son's par­a­digm, Ab­b­Vie sub­mits NDA for con­tin­u­ous, 24-hour in­fu­sion ther­a­py

AbbVie is approaching the FDA with a new therapy to potentially treat Parkinson’s disease, using prodrugs of two medications commonly used for the condition.

The Big Pharma submitted its NDA for ABBV-951, a solution of levodopa and carbidopa prodrugs being evaluated in advanced Parkinson’s patients who don’t respond well to oral therapy, AbbVie announced Friday morning. Researchers are hoping a positive Phase III study that reads out in late October will help move things along quickly at the agency.

Sanofi and Re­gen­eron clear the fin­ish line in an in­flam­ma­to­ry esoph­a­gus dis­ease, leav­ing Take­da in the dust

With atopic dermatitis rivals breathing down Dupixent’s neck, Sanofi and Regeneron on Friday secured a first win in new territory in what Sanofi’s head of immunology and inflammation Naimish Patel called the fastest approval he’s ever seen.

The FDA approved Dupixent on Friday to treat patients 12 years and older with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), an inflammatory condition that causes swelling and scarring of the esophagus. The approval came just a couple months after regulators granted Dupixent priority review, and months ahead of its PDUFA date on Aug. 3.

Fu­ji­film con­tin­ues its biotech build­ing spree with new fa­cil­i­ty in Chi­na

A Japanese conglomerate is making a big play in China with the opening of a new facility, as it continues to expand.

Fujifilm Irvine Scientific has opened its new Innovation and Collaboration Center in Suzhou New District, China, an area in Jiangsu province specifically designated for technological and industrial development.

According to Fujifilm, the 12,000-square-foot site will be responsible for the company’s cell culture media optimization, analysis and design services. Cell culture media itself often requires customization of formulas and protocols to achieve the desired quantity and quality of therapeutic desired. Fujifilm Irvine Scientific is offering these services from its headquarters in California and Japan to its customers globally, as well as in China now.

Emer Cooke, EMA director (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Ahead of FDA, EMA rec­om­mends au­tho­riz­ing new gene ther­a­py treat­ment for ul­tra-rare dis­ease

Aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency is an ultra-rare genetic disease that leaves patients unable to produce certain hormones in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, usually leading to developmental delays, weak muscle tone and inability to control the movement of the limbs. It can also lead to multiple organ failure.

To date, there have been no treatments approved for AADC deficiency, which has been identified in less than 150 patients.

Ather­sys tries to post-hoc-an­a­lyze its way out of an­oth­er tri­al fail for stroke stem cell ther­a­py

Athersys’ stem cell therapy has failed yet again.

In a 206-person trial conducted in Japan, Athersys’ stem cell therapy for stroke failed its primary endpoint of “excellent outcome,” a combined measure of three stroke recovery scores.

While a greater percentage of patients in the treatment group reached the primary endpoint compared to placebo, that difference was not statistically significant.

Siddhartha Mukherjee (Brian Ach/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

All Blue's $733M bid to ac­quire Zymeworks turns hos­tile as board bat­tles back — af­ter a biotech celebri­ty jumps in

Yesterday, the team at All Blue Capital — bent on the takeover of a badly battered Zymeworks — brought in celebrated oncologist, Pulitzer prize-winning writer and biotech exec Siddhartha Mukherjee to add some glitz to their proposed board. But they’re still not winning over any converts.

This morning, Zymeworks’ board officially turned this acquisition offer into a hostile showdown, rejecting the unsolicited offer and marshaling its forces to prevent a buyout at $10.50 per share.

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