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Saturday, September 30, 2023
Fierce Pharma Asia—Astellas-Seagen, Eisai-Merck, BeiGene-Novartis, Hengru share new cancer data at ESMO

At ESMO congress 2022, Seagen, Astellas and Merck showed how Padcev and Keytruda contributed to a combo in previously untreated bladder cancer. Three sets of liver cancer data by Merck and Eisai, BeiGene and Novartis and Jiangsu Hengrui Pharma, showed different results. And more.

1. ESMO: Seagen’s Padcev pulls its weight in combo with Merck’s Keytruda

A combination of Seagen and Astellas’ Padcev and Merck’s Keytruda shrunk tumors in 64.5% of previously untreated cisplatin-ineligible patients with locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer. Both drugs appeared to have pulled their weight, as Padcev contributed to a higher response rate, while Keytruda brought durability to the response, Merck executive Scott Ebbinghaus, M.D., said.

2. ESMO: Merck’s Keytruda-Lenvima flop hands Novartis-BeiGene, Hengrui a brighter liver cancer future

Three liver cancer regimens showed different results in newly diagnosed patients. Merck and Eisai’s Keytruda-Lenvima combo failed to beat Lenvima monotherapy, although the failure could potentially boost Lenvima’s position. Jiangsu Hengrui Pharma showed its PD-1 inhibitor camrelizumab, combined with VEGFR inhibitor rivoceranib topped Bayer’s Nexavar, posing a challenge to Roche’s Tecentriq-Avastin regimen. BeiGene and Novartis’ tislelizumab matched up to Nexavar at life extension, potentially offering sicker patients who can’t tolerate a tyrosine kinase inhibitor an option.

3. ESMO: Eyeing another shot at US market, Hutchmed touts ‘practice-changing’ colorectal cancer data

Hutchmed is targeting Bayer’s Stivarga and Taiho Pharma’s Lonsurf in third-line colorectal cancer. The company’s China-approved fruquintinib cut the risk of death by 34% over placebo in heavily pretreated patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Hutchmed argues fruquintinib’s clinical profile is more up-to-date than the two older meds given that its trial participants had taken some newer options like PD-1 and BRAF inhibitors when eligible.

4. Aurobindo plugs $37M into biologics expansion as its vaccine arm looks to get in on the contract manufacturing action, too

Aurobindo is investing 3 billion Indian rupees (about $37.7 million) to expand its subsidiary CureTeO Biologics. The plan includes a new cell culture manufacturing facility that’s expected to be fully operational by fiscal year 2026. Meanwhile, another Aurobindo unit, called Auro Vaccines, is exploring deals to offer contract manufacturing services to global vaccine developers.

5. Targeting Novo Nordisk in China’s obesity market with a unique proposition, LeaderMed eyes US IPO

New York-headquartered LeaderMed is targeting Asia’s metabolic disease market, first with a diabetes and weight reduction med it in-licensed from Opko Health. The company is negotiating a $100 million private financing round and plans for a U.S. IPO mid-2024. Besides the obesity and overweight market, LeaderMed is also targeting a wealthy self-pay population that considers weight reduction for aesthetic purposes.

6. Singapore sling: Catalent will invest $2.2M in clinical supply facility

Catalent is plunking down $2.2 million to add 31,000 square feet to its clinical supply facility in Singapore. The 20% increase in floor space will allow for 35 ultra-low temperature freezers. The site will also grow its specialized secondary packaging capability for ULT products, as well as the ability to handle more biologics and advanced cell and gene products.

7. Doctors get personal about the impact of acne in new Sun Pharma video, social media series

Sun Pharma has released the “My Life with Acne” video featuring 10 healthcare professionals talking about their personal experiences with acne about how the condition played a role in their career choice and how it still impacts their care for patients. The company, which sells topical acne therapy Winlevi, timed the release to coincide with the back-to-school season.

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