Phar­ma com­pa­nies out­per­form in­sti­tu­tions in Eu­ro­pean clin­i­cal tri­al re­port­ing amid prob­lem­at­ic over­all trends — Ox­ford study

Half of all tri­als sup­posed to be re­port­ed in a Eu­ro­pean data­base are not, de­spite clear le­gal re­quire­ments, re­searchers have found in the first such study of com­pli­ance, which al­so notes that phar­ma com­pa­nies do bet­ter in this re­gard than aca­d­e­m­ic in­sti­tu­tions, char­i­ties and hos­pi­tals.

Ben Goldacre

Comb­ing through 7274 tri­als on the EU Clin­i­cal Tri­als Reg­is­ter (EU­C­TR) that have passed the due date for post­ing da­ta, a team out of Ox­ford’s Ev­i­dence-Based Med­i­cine Data­L­ab not­ed that on­ly 49.5% re­port­ed their re­sults — mean­ing half of the time, tri­als spon­sors have breached a 2012 Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion guide­line that man­dates dis­clo­sure with­in 12 months of study com­ple­tion.

The team — led by the high-pro­file Ox­ford re­search Ben Goldacre — has launched an in­ter­ac­tive on­line data­base that they plan to up­date month­ly in ad­di­tion to post­ing a pa­per in The BMJ. The old­est tri­al tracked dates back to 2004.

In gen­er­al, com­mer­cial spon­sors are much more like­ly to post re­sults; 68% of their tri­als are re­port­ed, com­pared to 11% for a non-com­mer­cial spon­sor. Scale al­so mat­tered, as the big­ger spon­sors tied to a large num­ber of tri­als col­lec­tive­ly re­port­ed more of their tri­als (78%) than their small­er coun­ter­parts (18%).

Fur­ther­more, all 11 en­ti­ties record­ing a 100% re­port­ing rate are phar­ma com­pa­nies: Boehringer In­gel­heim, Chiesi Far­ma­ceu­ti­ci, Almi­rall, Gilead, Ot­su­ka, CSL Behring, Al­con, Ver­tex, Genen­tech, Dai­ichi Sankyo and Leo Phar­ma. Even the worst per­form­ing phar­ma— Pierre Fab­re — re­port­ed 55% of the tri­als it’s sup­posed to.

No­var­tis and Glax­o­SmithK­line, the on­ly two spon­sors with more than 1,000 tri­als on the EU­C­TR, have re­port­ed rates of 94.7% and 92.1% re­spec­tive­ly.

“Al­though poor re­port­ing rates in some sec­tors is a source of con­cern, the ex­treme­ly high rate of com­pli­ance among com­mer­cial spon­sors con­duct­ing a large num­ber of tri­als is pos­i­tive: it shows that, with an un­am­bigu­ous re­quire­ment for all tri­als to re­port re­sults, near per­fect com­pli­ance can prac­ti­cal­ly be de­liv­ered,” the re­searchers wrote.

There’s a catch, though.

The re­searchers didn’t tech­ni­cal­ly count all the tri­als that were due to re­port. That’s be­cause omis­sions and in­con­sis­ten­cies in tri­al com­ple­tion dates made it im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine whether a spon­sor was com­pli­ant in 3392 cas­es — which makes up 29.4% of all tri­als marked “com­plet­ed” or “ter­mi­nat­ed.” And these prob­lems show up even in tri­als con­duct­ed by the 100% com­pli­ant spon­sors.

Source: The BMJ

Click on the im­age to see the full-sized ver­sion

It’s just as much of a prob­lem as non-re­port­ing to reg­u­la­tors — and the EMA can do a bet­ter job mon­i­tor­ing it while spon­sors al­so clean up their act.

“We can’t make in­formed choic­es if the re­sults of clin­i­cal tri­als are with­held from doc­tors, re­searchers, and pa­tients,” the re­searchers wrote on their data­base, adding in the pa­per: “We hope that the ac­ces­si­ble and time­ly in­for­ma­tion on the com­pli­ance sta­tus of each in­di­vid­ual tri­al and spon­sor pro­vid­ed by our EU.tri­al­strack­er.net will help to im­prove re­port­ing rates”.

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

The End­points 11: They've got mad mon­ey and huge am­bi­tions. It's time to go big or go home

These days, selecting a group of private biotechs for the Endpoints 11 spotlight begins with a sprint to get ahead of IPOs and the M&A teams at Big Pharma. I’ve had a couple of faceplants earlier this year, watching some of the biotechs on my short list choose a quick leap onto Nasdaq or into the arms of a buyer.

Vividion, you would have been a great pick for the Endpoints 11. I’m sorry I missed you.

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Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

So what hap­pened with No­var­tis Gene Ther­a­pies? Here's your an­swer

Over the last couple of days it’s become clear that the gene therapy division at Novartis has quietly undergone a major reorganization. We learned on Monday that Dave Lennon, who had pursued a high-profile role as president of the unit with 1,500 people, had left the pharma giant to take over as CEO of a startup.

Like a lot of the majors, Novartis is an open highway for head hunters, or anyone looking to staff a startup. So that was news but not completely unexpected.

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Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

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Who are the women su­per­charg­ing bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for this year's spe­cial re­port

The biotech industry has faced repeated calls to diversify its workforce — and in the last year, those calls got a lot louder. Though women account for just under half of all biotech employees around the world, they occupy very few places in C-suites, and even fewer make it to the helm.

Some companies are listening, according to a recent BIO survey which showed that this year’s companies were 2.5 times more likely to have a diversity and inclusion program compared to last year’s sample. But we still have a long way to go. Women represent just 31% of biotech executives, BIO reported. And those numbers are even more stark for women of color.

FDA+ roundup: Bs­U­FA III ready for show­time, court tells FDA to re-work com­pound­ing plan, new guid­ance up­dates and more

The FDA has now spelled out what exactly will be included in the third iteration of Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA) from 2023 through 2027, which similarly to the prescription drug deal, sets fees that industry has to pay for submitting applications, in exchange for firm timelines that the agency must meet.

This latest deal includes several sweeteners for the biosimilar industry, which has yet to make great strides in the US market, with shorter review timelines for safety labeling updates and updates to add or remove an indication that does not contain efficacy data.

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Jean Bennett (Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP Images)

Lux­tur­na in­ven­tor Jean Ben­nett starts a new gene ther­a­py com­pa­ny to tack­le rare dis­eases left be­hind by phar­ma, VCs

A few years ago Jean Bennett found herself in a surprising place for a woman who invented the first gene therapy ever approved in the United States: No one, it seemed, wanted her work.

Bennett, who designed and co-developed Luxturna, approved in 2018 for a rare form of blindness, had kept building new gene therapies for eye diseases at her University of Pennsylvania lab. But although the results in animals looked promising, pharma companies and investors kept turning down the pedigreed ophthalmology professor.

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Maureen Hillenmeyer, Hexagon Bio CEO

Hexa­gon Bio rais­es $61M to con­tin­ue ef­forts to turn fun­gi in­to drugs

A year after raising a $47 million launch round, the fungi-loving drug hunters at Hexagon Bio have more than doubled their coffers.

Hexagon announced today that it raised another $61 million for its efforts to design cancer and infectious disease drugs based on insights mined from the DNA in millions of species of fungi. The new financing brings Hexagon’s committed funding to over $108 million.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.