One-fifth of patients in a phase 1 study responded to an investigational ERK inhibitor from Merck, bolstering hopes that this type of drug could be used effectively in combination with other cancer drugs. ERK is a cell signal that is believed to drive the growth of many cancers.
Genentech’s PD-L1 inhibitor Tecentriq continues to show off its versatility. Monday, the Roche subsidiary announced a combination of Tecentriq and Avastin (bevacizumab) was significantly beneficial to patients with advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) who have not received prior systemic active or experimental therapy.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment of advanced malignancies. By blocking T-cell inhibition these drugs result in immune targeting of tumor cells and normal tissue. As such, their main toxicity is inducing immune-mediated tissue damage.
AstraZeneca AZN and partner Merck MRK announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has granted approval to its PARP inhibitor, Lynparza, as a maintenance therapy for relapsed ovarian cancer, irrespective of BRCA mutation status in patients who have responded to their last platinum-based chemotherapy.
After an R&D drought that lasted more than a decade, Merck KGaA may be coming out of the desert. Following two recent drug approvals, including the landmark FDA OK for checkpoint inhibitor Bavencio, the German Merck is now entering an R&D collaboration that might help fill its pipeline with new cancer drug contenders.
AstraZeneca still enjoys the perks of being first to market with its PARP inhibitor. Lynparza (olaparib) sales were $81 million from July to September, whereas net revenues were $16.8 million and $39.4 million for Clovis Oncology Inc.'s Rubraca (rucaparib) and Tesaro Inc.'s Zejula (niraparib), respectively.
Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Priority Review designation for the New Drug Application (NDA) for apalutamide, an investigational, next-generation oral androgen receptor (AR) inhibitor for the treatment of men with non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Currently, there are no FDA-approved treatments for patients with non-metastatic CRPC.
AbbVie’s investigational JAK1-inhibitor upadacitinib yielded positive top-line results in a Phase III trial as a monotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis patients. But the drug shows that it is still plagued by some safety concerns.
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