08.04.2013 - AstraZeneca's arthritis pill fostamatinib is proven inferior to competitor drugs in a late-stage clinical trial.
While the first-in-class oral rheumatoid (RA) arthritis drug proved to be efficient as measured by ACR20 reponse it failed to halt the progression of joint damage as compared with placebo in the OSKIRA-1 Phase III study. In December, fastamatinib was shown to be inferior in efficacy compared to Abbvie’s injectible RA blockbuster antibody Humira (adalimumab),reducing its ability to compete in the US$20bn-plus RA market. AstraZeneca’ RA pill also increased blood pressure and led to diarrhea.
"Our misgiving is that fostamatinib appears to be inferior to Humira on efficacy and now the adverse events seem to pitch it below Pfizer's Xeljanz, (– another RA pill in late-stage development –) so it is hard to see where the product will fit," said Panmure Gordon analyst Savvas Neophytou.
AstraZeneca, which currently announced the restructuring of its R&D, licensed fostamatinib in 2010 from Rigel Pharmaceuticals. However, after the current study results, analysts forecasted only low fostamatinib sales, averaging just US$171m in 2016. Humira, by contrast, has annual worldwide sales of more than $9 billion but has become under pressure by new RA drugs such as Roche’s RoActemra.
With last year's loss of exclusivity on schizophrenia drug Seroquel, and Nexium for stomach acid and cholesterol fighter Crestor set for U.S. patent expiries in 2014 and 2016, AstraZeneca faces one of the industry's steepest "cliffs" of patent expiries.
17.04.2014 The European Parliament has given green light to the second Innovative Medicines Initiative with the aim to advance pharmacological research and development, particularly in areas of unmet medical need.
11.04.2014 There is no evidence that neuraminidase inhibitors Tamiflu and Relenza prevent complications of influenza or reduce hospital admissions. In addition, it is unclear whether they can stop the spread of influenza in case of outbreaks, says a report by the Cochrane Collaboration.
09.04.2014 Roche is extending its involvement in the area of point-of-care diagnostics by taking over US company Iquum. In the field of epigenetics, the Swiss pharma company has started a cooperation with the Spanish company Oryzon.
08.04.2014 The Swiss Biotech Report 2014 presented in Zurich sees an encouraging upturn in the country's biotech scene. However, the acceptance of the mass immigration initiative poses a significant threat.
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