21.08.2012 - Sanofi withdraws a cancer drug from the markets and aims for a relaunch in multiple sclerosis.
Sanofi is withdrawing its cancer drug Campath from the markets. The pharma plans to commercialise the antibody under a different name and dosing regime for multiple sclerosis – a much more lucrative indication.
The development of Campath-1H, also known under its generic name alemtuzumab, as a successful drug took years. The anti-CD52 antibody was thought to cure rheumatoid arthritis in the beginning of the 90s but failed expectations. Since 2001, it has finally been approved for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Since then it also washes some money into Sanofi’s subsidiary Genzyme Corp. from Cambridge (USA). But revenues have been decling over the past years. Therefore Sanofi is now aiming for fresh money and a higher pricing. In a move to prevent off-label use the drug has now been pulled from European (in mid-August) and US markets (in early September) markets.
In both regions the market authorisation applications (MAAs) for a use in multiple sclerosis are pending. According to the pharma company clearing the market should ensure that „alemtuzumab is exclusively received and used in the ongoing clinical trials.“ Obviously, Sanofi thinks that a widely merchandised drug could jeopardise these trials. Alemtuzumab awaits its repeated market entry under the name Lemtrada. However, the German society for haematology and oncology (DGHO) criticises Sanofi for playing one group of patients against another. Sanofi responded that all leukaemia patients (so far about 4.000) will benefit from free-of-charge programmes that make sure that all patients receive their much needed medicine. In Germany, according to the DGHO, these programmes run so far quite smoothly even if they mean an increased bureaucratic effort.
20.01.2015 Ebola research projects are set to receive €215m in funding from the European Commission’s IMI2 Ebola+ programme. Among the project partners are vaccine developers Glaxosmithkline, Johnson&Johnson and Merck.
13.01.2015 Shire beefs up its rare disease portfolio after acquiring NPS Pharma with the aim of becoming a leading biotech in a US$5.2bn deal. Part of the deal is the US biotech's lead portfolio of gastrointestinal and hormone replacement therapies.
09.01.2015 The excitement surrounding CRISPR genome editing shows no sign of abating. This month, Novartis and US biotech Intellia Therapeutics became the first ever biotech-pharma collaboration to use the groundbreaking technology.
06.01.2015 With the aim to utilise Ireland’s many natural resources and keep abreast of the latest EU developments in bioeconomy, a multi-disciplinary team has been funded to maximise national income, exports and job creation related to Ireland’s bioeconomy.