PHARMACY

Trial data of investigational lung cancer treatment said to extend survival by more than four months

BY Alaric DeArment

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — An investigational treatment for lung cancer made by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals extended patients’ survival by more than four months, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial announced Thursday.

BI said the phase 2b/3 “LUX-Lung 1” trial of BIBW 2992 (afatinib) showed a fourfold increase in survival among advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients taking the drug versus those taking placebo, whose survival was extended by one month.

The trial enrolled 585 patients whose disease had gotten worse after they received chemotherapy and Tarceva (erlotinib), made by Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals, or AstraZeneca’s Iressa (gefitinib).

Trial data will be presented at the Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.

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Combining Lilly and Amylin drug with insulin intake found to promote weight loss

BY Alaric DeArment

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Combining a diabetes drug marketed by Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals controls blood sugar and promotes weight loss more than insulin alone, according to a new study.

Researchers at sites in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Greece and Israel recruited 261 patients with Type 2 diabetes taking daily injections of Sanofi-Aventis’ insulin analog Lantus (insulin glargine [rDNA origin]) and randomly assigned them to receive placebo or twice-daily injections of Lilly and Amylin’s Byetta (exenatide). Among the 138 taking Byetta, 60% achieved almost normal blood sugar levels and lost an average of 4 lbs., compared with those in the placebo group, who gained 2 lbs. on average and of whom 35% lowered their blood sugar to the same degree.

“This study may be the best result ever for patients whose diabetes is inadequately controlled on a combination of pills and insulin,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School medical researcher and lead study author John Buse stated. “Until now, it was inconceivable that you could get such patients under excellent control with weight loss and no significant problems with hypoglycemia.”

The study appeared online in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine and will appear in the print edition on Jan. 18.

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Decision Resources: J&J, Merck chemotherapy drugs will emerge as go-to second-line treatments

BY Alaric DeArment

BURLINGTON, Mass. — Chemotherapy drugs made by Johnson & Johnson and Merck will become the standard second-line treatment for ovarian cancer within the decade, replacing a treatment made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and generic versions, according to a new report by market research firm Decision Resources.

The report projected that by 2019, combinations of the chemotherapy drug carboplatin with J&J’s Doxil or Merck’s Caelyx, both formulations of doxorubicin hydrochloride, will replace Bristol’s Paraplatin (paclitaxel) combined with carboplatin in several developed countries; paclitaxel also is available in generic form.

“Experts we interviewed believe that such gains in addressing unmet need will most likely come from novel targeted agents,” Decision Resources analyst Niamh Murphy said. “As such, the need exists to identify other genetic characteristics … that will lead to the development of novel, molecularly targeted drugs [that] will benefit patients with ovarian cancer.”

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