U.S. regulator says too many drugmakers chasing same cancer strategy - (London South East via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Richard Pazdur, head of the FDA's office of oncology products, suggested that too many drugmakers are focused on the development of PD-1 inhibitors for the treatment of cancer, as reported London South East Friday.

  • "People should ask themselves...would we be better off spending those resources into looking at more novel drugs," Pazdur questioned.

  • PD-1 inhibitors that have been granted FDA approval include Merck & Co.'s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo, while companies with PD-1 inhibotors under development include BeiGene, Merck KGaA, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Roche.

  • "Our reason to go into PD-1s is not just to have a 'me too' drug," explained Israel Lowy, head of translational science and oncology at Regeneron, adding "most people think that the future is in combinations...having our own PD-1 that is active and useful gives us enormous flexibility in how we do clinical trials."

  • "We don't look at ourselves as 'latecomers,' cautioned Bahija Jallal, executive vice president at AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit, continuing "we are leading in multiple areas with combination therapies. The question is, how can we really follow the science."

  • "Somebody may emerge with a surprise new mechanism," suggested Leerink Partners analyst Seamus Fernandez, noting that Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb will likely become the standard-bearers for most patients.

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