Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Forbes' Matt Herper Places Anti-PD Oncology Drugs As His "Top(s) -- For 2014"

My buddy Matt has it right -- he calls it a tie between Merck's Keytruda® and BMS's Opdivo® -- for the title of most important new drug(s) of 2014.

But he goes on to point out (again, quite rightly) that BMS may have the longer term advantage here. BMS is deeper into (and perhaps even on its way out of) the woods -- in finishing their clinical trials for other cancers -- not just end stage melanoma.

And as I've long said, right now, very wealthy US private pay cancer patients of all sorts (and perhaps some residual Cadillac plan participants) are getting the $150,000 a year regimen -- from one or the other of the companies, off label, for other cancers -- by speaking directly to their oncologists, and signing an informed consent and release form. As the anti PD-1 class receives FDA approvals for other cancers, the revenues will certainly mushroom -- by orders of magnitude, here. A bit -- but do go read Matt's fine piece:

. . . .But the real potential of these drugs will come as they are moved earlier in melanoma and into other cancers. Keytruda was approved first, in September. Opdivo followed three months later. But Bristol is further ahead in completing studies that test trying Opdivo before other melanoma drugs. That, some analysts at investment banks say, could lead to an advantage for Bristol. Regardless, sales of each drug are forecast to approach $3 billion in the next few years.

Next year, there should be more information about using both drugs in non-small cell lung cancer. Trials of Bristol’s Opdivo in that disease will be closely watched, and studies are ongoing in other cancers, too. Companies like Roche and AstraZeneca are developing their own, similar medicines. There are also other approaches that harness the immune system that are exciting doctors and researchers. . . .

So it goes (more background here). Have a safe, peaceful and prosperous new year, one and all. I may be rather scarce now, until at least the third day of 2015.

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