Mauled by a major setback, Incyte is pointing to a better future — but concedes it also had to scrap another failed study

At least Incyte $INCY has Jakafi.

With the biotech’s IDO1 pipeline effort foundering on bad data, Incyte today led off the annual update on its R&D effort with some good news. Jakafi, its primary cash contributor, met the primary endpoint in a pivotal study for steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease, setting up a near-term supplemental drug application.

But while execs also spotlighted progress among its top-tier development efforts, Incyte also noted that it’s scrapping a clinical trial for INCB50465, a PI3Kδ drug, after it failed to measure up in patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Three other trials for this drug are continuing, with the first cut on results expected in 2019.

“The presentations today are intended to highlight our diversified development portfolio and its potential to accelerate our top-line growth in the near term,” said CEO Hervé Hoppenot in a statement.

What was missing from the initial statement about their presentations was epacadostat, once one of the top cancer drugs in the oncology pipeline, with analysts lavishing blockbuster projections on it as investigators hustled it along, with multiple combination studies underway. That promise, though, expired in a heartbeat when Incyte acknowledged that a Phase III combo study with Keytruda flopped in melanoma, forcing a broad retreat across the sector and raising some serious questions about Incyte’s future.

That still leaves Jakafi, which provided Incyte with $313 million out of $384 million in Q1 revenue this year. 

Stay tuned, though. The afternoon presentation includes a promise of “positive results from a randomized Phase II study of topical ruxolitinib in patients with atopic dermatitis.”

Image: Hervé Hoppenot (Jeff Rumans/Endpoints News)

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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