GSK’s latest pipeline review includes a slate of COPD programs headed to the scrap heap
GlaxoSmithKline R&D chief Hal Barron has tossed a lineup of COPD drugs out of the pipeline in the latest shift away from respiratory diseases. And there was a cancer drug as well as an HIV program in the mix of the nixed.
Barron was quick to highlight his focus on oncology after he took the reins at GSK’s big R&D group, expecting to scale down in respiratory, where GSK has had some successes and many setbacks.
Here’s a rundown on what is out:
— GSK’091 (TLR4 agonist) • GSK’091 for cancer was terminated due to portfolio prioritization.
Cited by Barron among a list of oncology drugs slated for upcoming proof of concept data back in 2018, the R&D chief has vowed to fail fast and move on when the data don’t add up.
— GSK’078 (SARM) • GSK’078 for COPD muscle weakness was terminated as data did not support progression in this indication.
Also in the PoC phase during Barron’s pipeline review.
— GSK’557 (nemiralisib, PI3Kd inhibitor) • GSK’557 for activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase delta syndrome was terminated due to portfolio prioritization.
This drug was in a Phase II for COPD, which clinicaltrials.gov noted is “an anti-inflammatory drug for the treatment of inflammatory airways disease.”
— COPD vaccine • Initial data of the proof-of-concept study on the COPD candidate vaccine showed it did not meet the primary endpoint. Work is ongoing to better understand the data; no progression to Phase III is planned.
— GSK’394 (combinectin, entry inhibitor) • GSK’394 for HIV was terminated due to portfolio prioritization.
Barron told me early on that he was determined to celebrate a rapid-fire approach to ridding the portfolio of weak programs or outright losers. But so far he has also failed to capture analysts’ imagination with the potential of the winners he intends to keep — including their BCMA antibody-drug conjugate belantamab mafodotin, which has a likely OK in the near future with a limited amount of commercial appeal.
The goal isn’t to end failure in the pipeline, which isn’t possible, but just reduce the rate of failures.
“If I fail 70% of the time,” he told me once, “I’d be the most productive research person in history.”