Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, January 12


Phase-III tests of Bristol-Myers Squibb's anti-PD-1 cancer drug Opdivo (nivolumab) showed that the metastatic melanoma drug increased overall survival among patients with advanced squamous cell non-small lung cancer. The results were significant enough that an Independent Data Monitoring Committee said the drugmaker could halt the clinical trial and go ahead with next steps. BMS said the news also means that the clinical trial's control group will now have the option to try the investigational medication.

Shire's post-Abbvie expansion plans have begun: The drugmaker has put up $5.2 billion to purchase rare-disease drug manufacturer NPS Pharmaceuticals. In cash. The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal will add gastrointestinal disease therapies to Shire's pipeline in addition to enhancing its shift away from common conditions to more specialized ones.” The deal furthers efforts noted in July, when Shire acquired rare-disease company ArmaGen for $225 million amid the now-dissolved Abbvie-Shire merger.


Biogen Idec announced it has acquired UK biotech Convergence in a deal worth up to  $675 million over the weekend at the JP Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco. Reuters describes one of Convergence's assets, CVN1014802a, as the linchpin of the deal—which is currently in mid-stage trials for orphan disease trigeminal neuralgia. Biogen will pay $200 million up front with $475 available as milestone payments per the deal.

Roche is now the major owner of genomics firm Foundation Medicine. The Swiss drugmaker said in a statement Monday that its 56.3% share of the company will send money toward accelerating development initiatives while providing Roche with “a unique opportunity to optimize the identification and development of novel treatment options for cancer patients.” FMI specializes in profiling cancer genomes that are used to match patients with clinical trials.

23andMe announced Monday it has extended its research agreement with Pfizer. The personal genetics company will grant Pfizer access to its research platforms and genotyped population. The duo will partner to better understand the genetics of lupus, the companies stated. 23andMe began collaborating in August 2014 with the goal of better understanding inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Pfizer is currently investigating its Janus kinase inhibitor, Xeljanz (tofacitinib), in Phase-II trials for IBD.



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