Cancer has been an elusive target for Isis Pharmaceuticals ISIS and their antisense drug candidates over the years, resulting in some spectacular failures in the past. In addition to the impending phase 3 prostate cancer data from partners OncoGenex $OGXI and Teva Pharmaceuticals $TEVA, Isis also has a growing roster of early stage cancer assets, a number of which now are included in a preferred partner option arrangement with AstraZeneca $AZN.
See below for recent comments from Teva Pharmaceuticals $TEVA and Baxter International $BAX relevant to Momenta Pharmaceuticals $MNTA - specifically their generic COPAXONE program for MS and their biosimilars partnership, respectively.
Antares Pharma $ATRS has a number of product partnerships with Teva Pharmaceuticals $TEVA based around a series of parenteral injection devices. These deals have been shrouded in secrecy and also littered with delays over the years. Recently though Teva briefly addressed the Epi-pen program on their 1q-2013 conference call (excerpt via SeekingAlpha).
Just curious to know your confidence level in the FDA's ability to approve EpiPen, an AB-rated EpiPen in 2015?
So, just to your second on question on EpiPen, I will let you know we had a settlement with Mylan and we have an entry date in 2015. The trial Is progressing well.
This post features comments from the Teva Pharmaceuticals $TEVA year-end 2012 earnings conference call that are relevant to companies covered here at BiotechDueDiligence.
As usual the discussion centers COPAXONE for multiple sclerosis, which Momenta Pharmaceutical $MNTA and partner Sandoz (Novartis $NVS) are seeking approval for a generic version of.
MNTA and biosimilars - notes from other biotech/pharma conference calls
Other blog posts related to TEVA and MNTA
For the moment, this will be the final installment of the BiotechDueDiligence AACR Annual Meeting preview..thanks for sticking with us. As always, see below for another collection of presentations from biotech companies covered on the website.
Preview Part 1 (SNTA, ASTX, NVS, INFI)
Preview Part 2
Preview Part 3 (ARRY, ASTX)
Preview Part 4 (ASTX, ARQL, BPAX)
Preview Part 5 (TKMR, EXEL, PCYC, IMMU, VRTX)
Preview Part 6 (CRIS INFI ISIS CLDX LGND PCYC)
Quick notes from Biosante Pharma $BPAX CEO Stephen Simes at Jefferies:
For archival purposes, see below for my notes from the March 2012 Antares Pharma (stock symbol ATRS, formerly AIS) fourth quarter and full-year 2011 earnings conference call.
Momenta Pharma $MNTA and Biosimilars/Follow-On Biologics: relevant discussion from pharma 2q2012 conference calls
Continue reading below for a round-up of 2q-2012 earnings commentary from Momenta Pharma's $MNTA partners and competitors, as well as about biosimilars in general. Includes Sanofi $SNY, Mylan $MYL, Watson Pharma $WPI, Pfizer $PFE, and Teva Pharma $TEVA:
OncoGeneX $OGXI has licensed its lead prostate and lung cancer drug custirsen to Teva Pharma. Any inkling that the partnership was in jeopardy would be a huge blow to the small Canadian biotech. Custirsen is an antisense drug targeting clusterin, using technology licensed from isis Pharma.
Teva Pharma 2q-2012 earnings transcript courtesy on Morningstar.
"And second, I'm not sure if Michael Hayden is on the phone, but if you guys are going through some of the strategic review of the key products you currently have in the pipeline, I was wondering if you can comment about where you are in terms of your thinking, specifically about things like DiaPep277, the oncology portfolio and perhaps Laquinimod now that it's being submitted in Europe?"
Well, thank you, Ronny, for that question. We are currently undergoing a very detailed review of every project that's part of the R&D portfolio. DiaPep is part of that, and we will be reporting on the outcome of all of this during our Investor Day in December. But let me just talk about one of the drugs you mentioned in the pipeline, which has been a wonderful and a very pleasant surprise for me is the drug, Laquinimod. As you know, showed very significant results in terms of its ability to reduce disability progression and also brain volume loss. In fact, what's really quite remarkable about this unique asset is that many of its mode of actions and its ability to prevent inflammatory changes are already potentially extrapolateable to some of the more common and more serious disorders for which there really are no therapies. These include some of the neurodegenerative disorders. And so I would say as part of this review, of course, we are very interested at the potential utilization of drugs in our portfolio for other indications which would match the mechanism of action, which then would very suitably match the cores and the pathways perturb in some of these other diseases. So we're looking at this. And I'd say Laquinimod is one of those that has been a wonderful surprise in terms of understanding more deeply as to mechanisms of actions and its potential utility in other diseases.
Oncogenex $OGXI will present updated (first data presentation was at ASCO-GU in early 2012) randomized phase 2 prostate cancer data for OGX-427 at ASCO 2012 - stay tuned as the abstract will be released May 16th.
1q-2012 Partner Update:
OGXI is partnered with Teva Pharma $TEVA for their lead cancer drug custirsen, with phase 3 trials ongoing in prostate cancer and proposed for non-small cell lung cancer. This program is virtually never mentioned on Teva webcasts, and that was again the case this quarter. However, it is important to note that following the acquisition of Cephalon by Teva, the combined research and development pipelines are ongoing a thorough review and re-prioritization led by the newly appointed CEO Jeremy Levin. Here is what he said about the process:
"So let me just touch on the reviews. As I've said to you the -- we are conducting an extensive review. This is not just of pipeline, it's across the board, it's the business, it's the -- in the different geographies. It's also the manufacturing footprint. It's the pipeline, our capabilities in R&D and the individuals, the people that we have. This is part of a normal process that any CEO does. It's not something unusual to what -- is undergoing in Teva. We've identified a number of different processes that we'll undergo to look at that. And amongst those is the process to look hard at the pipeline. Now as you know, that pipeline was looked at last year, and I think at this stage it's premature to say that there's any changes whatsoever from that. But I anticipate as Michael comes on board and works with me and others around the table, we'll have a much clearer view of that a little later in the year."
It goes without saying that if Teva abandoned the OGXI partnership, OncoGenex would be in deep trouble - they do not have nearly the required resources to fund and operate the global phase 3 program for custirsen. However, there is no immediate reason to worry about this outcome. If OGXI was truly on the chopping block, it would be an odd decision by Teva to commit to a brand new phase 3 overall survival prostate cancer clinical trial in combination with the second-line chemotherapy agent JEVTANA (cabazitaxel), rather than simply abandoning the SATURN pain palliation trial. In any case, it is a situation that bears monitoring for all OGXI investors.