Drug approvals bounce back as R&D labs churn out new winners - (Nasdaq via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Drug approvals in the US and Europe are surging after a slowdown in 2016, as reported NASDAQ Thursday.

  • The FDA has approved 21 products in 2017, versus 22 for all of 2016, while the European Medicines Agency has recommended clearance of 42 products this year, compared to 31 at the same point of 2016.

  • "A lot of biopharmaceutical companies are filling their pipelines with programmes that seek treatments for diseases that can be approved with an accelerated review such as rare diseases, different cancers and anti-infectives," noted PureTech Health director John LaMattina.

  • A number of therapies with blockbuster potential have already received marketing authorisation this year, including Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' eczema therapy Dupixent, Roche's multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus and AstraZeneca's cancer treatment durvalumab.

  • Drugs expected to be cleared this year include Novo Nordisk's diabetes drug semaglutide, a leukaemia therapy from Novartis and a shingles vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline, while Amgen and UCB no longer expect clearance of their experimental osteoporosis treatment this year due to safety issues.

  • The decline in drug approvals last year was fuelled by the early approval of several therapies at the end of last year combined with delays in approval for drugs including Ocrevus and Sanofi and Regeneron's rheumatoid arthritis treatment Kevzara.

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