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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

ASCO highlights – Janssen, Takeda, AZ, Genentech, MSD, BMS and Noxopharm

Health Industry Hub | June 3, 2020 |

Pharma News: The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2020 meeting was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are a few of the highlights.

Janssen announced final analysis of the pivotal Phase III SPARTAN trail of Erleada (apalutamide) in combination with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which significantly improved overall survival (OS), compared to ADT alone in non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (nmCRPC). Janssen also announced updated results from the Phase Ib/II CARTITUDE-1 trial of JNJ-4528, an investigational B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-directed T-Cell therapy in r/r multiple myeloma. All patients responded to treatment and had deep and durable responses.

Takeda presented results from the Phase II Pevonedistat-2001 trial at ASCO and the European Hematology Association (EHA) Annual Meeting. The trial evaluated pevonedistat plus azacytidine compared to azacytidine alone in rare leukaemias, including higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (HR-MDS). The data showed the combination suggested benefits in the HR-MDS subgroup across multiple clinically meaningful endpoints. Pevonedistat could be the first new treatment option for this patient population in more than a decade.

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AstraZeneca presented data on osimertinib (Tagrisso) following surgery for localised non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation significantly improved disease-free survival in a phase III study. Of patients with stage II-IIIA NSCLC who received osimertinib, 90% were alive at two years without the cancer recurring, compared with 44% who received a placebo. The risk of disease recurrence or death was reduced by 83% for patients treated with adjuvant osimertinib after surgery compared to placebo.

Genentech, a Roche company, announced positive results from the Phase II CITYSCAPE trial of adding tiragolumab to Tecentriq in people with PD-L1-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This combination treatment showed clinically meaningful improvement in overall response rate (ORR) and progression free survival (PFS).

MSD’s immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) doubled progression-free survival (PFS) vs chemotherapy in patients with a type of advanced colorectal cancer that has a high number of mutations, which previous research suggests may have a poor prognosis for some patients. This is the first time pembrolizumab has been shown to benefit these patients when used as a front-line therapy. The findings come from the phase III KEYNOTE-177 trial.

Bristol Myers Squibb presented new data from two clinical trials of Opdivo plus Yervoy-based combinations in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

For Part 1 of the Phase III CheckMate -227 clinical trial, the company announced three-year follow-up data showing that Opdivo (nivolumab) plus Yervoy (ipilimumab) gave sustained improvements in overall survival (OS) as well as additional efficacy measures as a first-line treatments for metastatic NSCLC. The three-year OS rates in this population was 33% for the combination compared to 22% for chemotherapy alone.

In the Phase III CheckMate -9LA trial, the company presented first results showing a statistically significant and clinically meaningful survival benefit with Opdivo plus Yervoy, given concomitantly with two cycles of chemotherapy for first-line metastatic NSCLC. The trial met both its primary and key secondary endpoints, showing superior OS, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall response rate (ORR) for the dual immunotherapy plus chemotherapy compared to chemotherapy alone.

Australia’s Noxopharm shared results from a phase 1b study of patients with late-stage progressive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). NOX66 in combination with low-dose radiation therapy was found to be safe and well tolerated with promising signals of durable efficacy in patients with late-stage mCRPC.

In alignment with the Government’s mental health initiative the #SelfcareInHealthcare campaign has been launched to support Pharma, Biotech and MedTech industry professionals. The initiative is supported by Medicines Australia, AusBiotech, MTAA and ARCS Australia. Learn more.


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