Re­searchers find 15% of tri­als could be repli­cat­ed us­ing re­al world da­ta

A study pub­lished this week in JA­MA Net­work Open finds that cur­rent­ly avail­able re­al-world da­ta (RWD) sources can on­ly be used to fea­si­bly repli­cate 15% of clin­i­cal tri­als.

The aim of the study was to de­ter­mine whether RWD could be used to pow­er ob­ser­va­tion­al stud­ies that an­swer the same clin­i­cal ques­tions as tra­di­tion­al clin­i­cal tri­als.

Ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­als (RCTs) are con­sid­ered the gold stan­dard for clin­i­cal ev­i­dence to sup­port the safe­ty and ef­fi­ca­cy of med­ical prod­ucts due to high lev­els of in­ter­nal con­sis­ten­cy and re­duced bias.

How­ev­er, as the au­thors of the study write, “Com­pared with RCTs, RWE [re­al-world ev­i­dence] bet­ter re­flects the ac­tu­al clin­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments in which med­ical in­ter­ven­tions are used, in­clud­ing pa­tient de­mo­graph­ics, co­mor­bidi­ties, ad­her­ence, and con­cur­rent treat­ments,” not­ing that RCTs are cost­ly and time in­ten­sive com­pared to ob­ser­va­tion­al stud­ies.

To con­duct the study, the au­thors re­viewed 220 clin­i­cal tri­als con­duct­ed in the US that were pub­lished in the top sev­en med­ical jour­nals in 2017 and de­ter­mined whether RWD ob­tained from in­sur­ance claims and elec­tron­ic health records (EHRs) con­tained the in­for­ma­tion nec­es­sary to repli­cate the stud­ies.

Of those tri­als, the au­thors were on­ly able to iden­ti­fy 86 (39%) that “had an in­ter­ven­tion that could be as­cer­tained from in­sur­ance claims and/or EHR da­ta.” From there, the au­thors nar­rowed the tri­als fur­ther to iden­ti­fy ones with an in­di­ca­tion and in­clu­sion/ex­clu­sion cri­te­ria that could be ex­tract­ed from RWD.

From there the au­thors were able to iden­ti­fy just 33 (15%) tri­als with one or more pri­ma­ry end­points that could be as­cer­tained from avail­able RWD sources.

“This find­ing sug­gests the po­ten­tial for re­al-world ev­i­dence to com­ple­ment clin­i­cal tri­als, both by ex­am­in­ing the con­cor­dance be­tween ran­dom­ized ex­per­i­ments and ob­ser­va­tion­al stud­ies and by com­par­ing the gen­er­al­iz­abil­i­ty of the tri­al pop­u­la­tion with the re­al-world pop­u­la­tion of in­ter­est,” the au­thors write.

How­ev­er, the au­thors cau­tion that for new prod­ucts, RWE is un­like­ly to serve as a re­place­ment for RCTs and point out that many of the tri­als they looked at could not be repli­cat­ed be­cause the da­ta nec­es­sary to do so “are un­like­ly to ap­pear in an EHR in struc­tured form if at all.”

But the au­thors stress that RWE could be used to pro­vide “crit­i­cal in­sights” in­to prod­uct safe­ty and ef­fi­ca­cy in the postap­proval set­ting and could al­low the FDA to iden­ti­fy and act on safe­ty is­sues more quick­ly.

RAPS: First pub­lished in Reg­u­la­to­ry Fo­cus™ by the Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs Pro­fes­sion­als So­ci­ety, the largest glob­al or­ga­ni­za­tion of and for those in­volved with the reg­u­la­tion of health­care prod­ucts. Click here for more in­for­ma­tion.

A New Fron­tier: The In­ner Ear

What happens when a successful biotech venture capitalist is unexpectedly diagnosed with a chronic, life-disrupting vertigo disorder? Innovation in neurotology.

That venture capitalist was Jay Lichter, Ph.D., and after learning there was no FDA-approved drug treatment for his condition, Ménière’s disease, he decided to create a company to bring drug development to neurotology. Otonomy was founded in 2008 and is dedicated to finding new drug treatments for the hugely underserved community living with balance and hearing disorders. Helping patients like Jay has been the driving force behind Otonomy, a company heading into a transformative 2020 with three clinical trial readouts: Phase 3 in Ménière’s disease, Phase 2 in tinnitus, and Phase 1/2 in hearing loss. These catalysts, together with others in the field, highlight the emerging opportunity in neurotology.
Otonomy is leading the way in neurotology
Neurotology, or the treatment of inner ear neurological disorders, is a large and untapped market for drug developers: one in eight individuals in the U.S. have moderate-to-severe hearing loss, tinnitus or vertigo disorders such as Ménière’s disease.1 With no FDA-approved drug treatments available for these conditions, the burden on patients—including social anxiety, lower quality of life, reduced work productivity, and higher rates of depression—can be significant.2, 3, 4

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Can we make the an­tibi­ot­ic mar­ket great again?

The standard for-profit model in drug development is straightforward. Spend millions, even billions, to develop a medicine from scratch. The return on investment (and ideally a tidy profit) comes via volume and/or price, depending on the disease. But the string of big pharma exits and slew of biotech bankruptcies indicate that the model is sorely flawed when it comes to antibiotics.

The industry players contributing to the arsenal of antimicrobials are fast dwindling, and the pipeline for new antibiotics is embarrassingly sparse, the WHO has warned. Drugmakers are enticed by greener pastures, compared to the long, arduous and expensive path to antibiotic approval that offers little financial gain as treatments are typically priced cheaply, and often lose potency over time as microbes grow resistant to them.

Joe Jimenez, Getty

Ex-No­var­tis CEO Joe Jimenez is tak­ing an­oth­er crack at open­ing a new chap­ter in his ca­reer — and that in­cludes a new board seat and a $250M start­up

Joe Jimenez is back.

The ex-CEO of Novartis has taken a board seat on Century Therapeutics, the Versant and Bayer-backed startup focused on coming up with a brand new twist on cell therapies for cancer — a field where Jimenez made his mark backing the first personalized CAR-T approved for use.

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Amber Saltzman (Ohana)

Flag­ship's first ven­ture of 2020 is out, and it's all about sperm

A couple years ago, Amber Salzman got a call as she was returning East full-time after a two-year stint running a gene therapy company in California.

It was from someone at Flagship Pioneering, the deep-pocketed biotech venture firm. They had a new company with a new way of thinking about sperm. It had been incubating for over a year, and now they wanted her to run it.

“It exactly fit,” Salzman told Endpoints News. “I just thought I had to do something.”

Pfiz­er ax­es 6 ear­ly to late-stage can­cer stud­ies from the pipeline — with one oth­er cut for sick­le cell dis­ease

Pfizer trimmed a group of 3 R&D programs using their PD-L1 Bavencio — partnered with Merck KGaA — in their latest pipeline cull.

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In­cyte scores much need­ed PhI­II suc­cess — and of course it’s de­liv­ered by rux­oli­tinib

Incyte’s efforts to breathe a second life into ruxolitinib — its JAK inhibitor sold in pill form as Jakafi — has been greeted with clear, if preliminary and unsurprising, Phase III success.

Topline data from the TRuE-AD2 cements ruxolitinib’s foundational importance for Incyte, and gives analysts hope that there might yet be room for growth in a pipeline that’s suffered multiple R&D setbacks.

The FTC and New York state ac­cuse Mar­tin Shkre­li of run­ning a drug mo­nop­oly. They plan to squash it — and per­ma­nent­ly ex­ile him

Pharma bro Martin Shkreli was jailed, publicly pilloried and forced to confront some lawmakers in Washington riled by his move to take an old generic and move the price from $17.50 per pill to $750. But through 4 years of controversy and public revulsion, his company never backed away from the price — left uncontrolled by a laissez faire federal policy on a drug’s cost.

Now the FTC and the state of New York plan to pry his fingers off the drug once and for all and open it up to some cheap competition. And their lawsuit is asking that Shkreli — with several years left on his prison sentence — be banned permanently from the pharma industry.

UP­DAT­ED: Ac­celeron res­ur­rects block­buster hopes for so­tater­cept with pos­i­tive PhII — and shares rock­et up

Acceleron $XLRN says that its first major trial readout of 2020 is a success.

In a Phase II study of 106 patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), Acceleron’s experimental drug sotatercept hit its primary endpoint: a significant reduction in pulmonary vascular resistance. The drug also met three different secondary endpoints, including the 6-minute walking test.

“We’re thrilled to report such positive topline results from the PULSAR trial,” Acceleron CEO Habib Dable said in a statement. The company said in a conference call they plan on discussing a Phase III trial design with regulators.

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Patrik Jonsson, the president of Lilly Bio-Medicines

Who knew? Der­mi­ra’s board kept watch as its stock price tracked Eli Lil­ly’s se­cret bid­ding on a $1.1B buy­out

In just 8 days, from December 6 to December 14, the stock jumped from $7.88 to $12.70 — just under the initial $13 bid. There was no hard news about the company that would explain a rise like that tracking closely to the bid offer, raising the obvious question of whether insider info has leaked out to traders.

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