Protocols

Out to challenge Gilead’s daily pills, Viiv scores three-year data on monthly combo; Rigel bags $33M from Asia licensing deal

→ On the heels of an NDA submission, Viiv has posted longterm data supporting its theory that another one of its long-acting two-drug combos could work just as well as the daily triplets offered by its big rival Gilead. In a Phase IIb trial, researchers found that at the three-year mark, 90% patients receiving the injectable regimen of cabotegravir and rilpivirine every eight weeks remained virally suppressed; 83% of those on the four-week regimen did. It echoes a set of Phase III results the GSK subsidiary unveiled in August, which Viiv says points to the combo’s potential in “changing HIV treatment from 365 dosing days per year, to just 12.”

→ Progress in Janssen’s Phase II trial of niraparib monotherapy has triggered an $18 million milestone payment to Tesaro $TSRO, which is mounting a leap from Phase Ib to Phase III for a combo prostate cancer therapy featuring the drug. Janssen first took over development of niraparib in 2016 after handing over $35 million upfront.

→ Now that Rigel Pharma $RIGL is fully on track with the US commercialization of Tavalisse (fostamatinib), it is ready to tap into the Asian markets through a licensing deal with Japan’s Kissei Pharma. Paying $33 million in cash and $147 million in biobucks, Kissei can now develop and market the drug — currently indicated for dangerously low platelet counts, or thrombocytopenia — in Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea.

ViewRay $VRAY is teaming up with cancer service provider GenesisCare to install its MRI-guided radiation therapy in GenesisCare’s UK care centers. The MRIdian linear accelerators, the partners say, will support precision medicine by informing oncologists “what’s really happening inside the body during treatment.”


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