Showing posts from July, 2017

AstraZeneca, Merck strike deal to advance cancer treatments

British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and US peer Merck said Thursday they had agreed a multi-billion-dollar deal to jointly develop key cancer drugs. However, AstraZeneca shares tumbled 15 percent as investors fretted over disappointing trial results for its next-generation lung cancer treatment. Sentiment took another heavy blow on news that Astra's first-half sales were hurt by the loss of US patent protection on two blockbuster drugs. The Merck tie-up illustrates the growing prominence of oncology in the global pharmaceutical sector. "The strategic collaboration is expected to further increase the number of treatment options available to patients," Merck and Astra said in their joint statement.  Merck will pay AstraZeneca up to $8.5 billion (7.2 billion euros) under the deal struck to develop and commercialise the drugs. Central to the agreement is "a global strategic oncology collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialise AstraZeneca's L

Eisai Submits Marketing Authorisation Application to the European Medicines Agency for Lenvatinib in First-Line Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Lenvatinib filing   based on   pivotal Phase III REFLECT study demonstrating non-inferior   overall survival compared   to   sorafenib    Simultaneous submissions   to   EMA and   US   FDA   follow   filing with  Japan's  MHLW in June   2017    Eisai announced it has submitted a marketing authorisation application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the first-line use of lenvatinib in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC). Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma face a poor prognosis, with a complex disease which accounts for approximately 90% of liver cancer cases worldwide. [1] "For a decade there has been no advance in the first-line systemic treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma in  Europe ," said Professor  Jeff Evans , Professor of Translational Cancer Research,  University of Glasgow . "There is a significant unmet need for patients with this advanced form of liver cancer, where treatment options are limited.&quo

Roche, Emcure may end pact to make 2 blockbuster drugs

A joint venture between Swiss drug maker  Roche  and India’s  Emcure Pharmaceuticals to manufacture and distribute two blockbuster drugs may be coming apart five years after it was formed, ET has learnt. Leading drug distributors told ET that the two drugs –  trastuzumab  to treat  breast cancer  and  rituximab  for certain autoimmune diseases – were not available. Industry executives said the joint venture is ending and Roche is looking for another distribution partner. Emcure did not respond to an email query by ET. A Roche spokesperson said Emcure is still the distributor for the two drugs in India. Roche had handed out the manufacturing and marketing of trastuzumab and rituximab to Pune-based Emcure in 2012 specifically to cater to the Indian market. Emcure sold trastuzumab under the brand Bicletis and rituximab as Ikgdar. The partnership was hailed as an innovative way to bring multinational drug makers and generic manufacturers on the same platform to address the issue of ac

IBM Watson Shows Us How Machine Learning Is Transforming Cancer Care

Famed for its winning appearance on the popular game show  Jeopardy! , IBM Watson has become an important tool for doctors working with cancer patients around the world. Having trained the supercomputer to understand the complexities and nuances of human language, IBM developed Watson for Oncology, which provides information to physicians to help them identify personalized, evidence-based cancer care options. Based on research done in India, it was found that Watson’s treatment recommendations matched those of doctors at a rate of 96 percent for lung, 81 percent for colon and 93 percent for rectal cancer cases. Watson Clinical Trials Matching, meanwhile, evaluates data from patient records and doctor’s notes to automatically find eligible patients for clinical trials. In one Arkansas-based study, this reduced clinical trial screening time from 1 hour and 50 minutes to just 24 minutes. In our latest  Future of Health  report, PSFK spoke with Andrew Norden, deputy chief health office

TRAC, Canada and MedGenome announce a Cancer Immunotherapy solution

  Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre  (TRAC) from the  University of Toronto , Canada agreed to license  MedGenome ’s patented  cancer immunotherapy  solution OncoPept to develop biomarkers for their drug candidates against immune modulators to treat cancer. The licensing will form the basis of a larger partnership between the two organizations that can be leveraged to bring novel antibody drugs to the Indian market. The announcement was made at the one day Symposium held today at the Hilton Mumbai and was attended by Scientists from over 25 Pharmaceutical companies including Sun Pharma, Biocon and Glenmark. The Symposium was inaugurated by  Jordan Reeves , the Canadian Consul General in India. India adds over one million new cancer cases every year with greater than 60% mortality due to lack of effective therapies. Highly effective antibody drugs take years before they become available in India, and when available, have limited market uptake because of the price barrier. For example

Cause of chemoresistance in small cell lung cancer discovered

Approximately one year after successful treatment with  cytotoxic chemotherapy  and  radiotherapy , patients with advanced Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC), which primarily affects heavy smokers, generally relapse with recurrence of tumours that are resistant to further chemotherapy. At this point, the affected patients usually only have a few months to live. The reason for this was hitherto unknown. Researchers at  MedUni Vienna , led by  Gerhard Hamilton (Department of Surgery), have now discovered that circulating tumour cells combine, making previously chemo-sensitive cells into chemo-resistant cell complexes.  

"The circulating tumour cells aggregate to protect themselves from chemotherapy – like a circle of covered wagons – thereby preventing any active agents from entering," says Hamilton, describing the process. These "aggregates" can comprise hundreds of thousands of cells, be up to 2 mm in diameter and be eight times more resistant to chemotherapy drugs – f

Merck sees market for novel therapies, to focus on its oncology pipeline

MerckBSE 4.37 % is betting on India's growing pharmaceutical space and steady state spending on healthcare to expand its business, even as the German life sciences and technology company's seven-year-old joint venture with Dr Reddy's Laboratories to develop biosimilar drugs comes to an end.  The 350-year-old company is known to be a global leader in the manufacturing of biosciences products. It is betting big on its oncology pipeline, in the field of immunotherapy that has come to de fine new-age cancer treatment.  "We went into biosimilars during a period of time that was in 2011-12, when we were not sure how our research-based pipeline was developing. So I said before biosimilars was plan B for us," Stefan Oschmann, the chief executive of Merck KGaA, told ET in an interview. "Now, our R&D pipeline has developed so nicely and because we have to prioritise and we cannot afford to finance everything, we decided to sell the (biosimilar) business." 

Plan in offing to set up first private sector cancer centre

Plans are afoot to establish the first-ever cancer centre in the private sector in the Sultanate. The state-of-the-art centre is likely to take on a larger role and serve as a hub for the entire Gulf and Mideast region. This follows the success of a similar initiative in Africa with the set-up of the largest cancer care hospital in the private sector in Nairobi, Kenya. In the first phase of a two-stage operation, a fertility care centre and diagnostics facility would be set up in the next three to four months. Subsequently, feasibility studies over the next six months would lay the groundwork for the establishment of the cancer care centre within two years. HealthCare Global Enterprises Limited (HCG) and Gruppoexcel Holding Incorporated, Oman, have entered into a joint partnership to give this cancer care centre life and shape. Dr BS Ajaikumar, Chairman and CEO of HCG, told Oman Tribune, “Through our cancer, IVF and diagnostic facilities we plan to introduce the concept of

Is Indian pharma ready to tap the European market?

According to the European Health Report 2015 issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol consumption, tobacco use and obesity are among the major public health problems in the European Region. But cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the leading causes of premature mortality. In 1998, cancer accounted for just over one third (37 per cent) of premature mortality, and this rose consistently to 43 per cent in 2012. According to WHO report, with more than 3.7 million new cases and 1.9 million deaths each year, cancer represents the second most important cause of death and morbidity in Europe. On a global scale, cancer accounted for 8.2 million deaths (around 13 per cent of the total) in 2012.Tobacco consumption and excessive alcohol consumption cause about 40 per cent of the total cancer burden. The precise figures vary from country to country. The report further notes that if the consequences of inappropriate diet, obesity and insufficient physical activity are added, t