U.S. health officials stated they expect to have 300 million doses of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by early 2021 despite the fact that a final vaccine candidate has not been chosen. NCCN makes the case for biosimilars to help in the fight against cancer, and Roche is set to pay $775 million for pralsetinib, an oncology drug owned by Blueprint Medicines. Read on for more top stories in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.

Innovation Partners Weekly BioBlog July 19, 2020

Roche to pay Blueprint $775M for pralsetinib rights, setting up showdown with Lilly

Roche is paying Blueprint Medicines $775 million upfront for rights to RET inhibitor pralsetinib. Pralsetinib achieved a 65% response rate in RET fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and a 50% response rate across all RET fusion-positive solid tumors. Blueprint has already filed for approval in Europe and the United States after data links pralsetinib to a 91% response rate in RET fusion thyroid cancer. Roche intends to pay $675 million in cash and $100 million in equity investment in Blueprint as part of the deal.

FiercePharmaPolitics—Trump readying drug pricing executive orders, official says

President Trump is getting ready to sign three executive orders regarding drug pricing after Congress failed to come to agreement on a bipartisan drug pricing bill. The President made drug pricing part of his campaign pitch in 2016 and appears to be pushing to make good on his promises before the 2020 election.

Biosimilars for Cancer an ‘Emerging Success’ Says NCCN’s Koh

In order for biosimilars to become common, they must win over biologics, according to this article. That may be happening right now. Wui-Jin Koh, senior vice president/chief medical officer of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) stated that he believes biosimilars are an emerging success story and one worth watching in the oncology world. Koh said an NCCN steering committee voted unanimously in May to revise all of its guidelines to indicate that an FDA-approved biosimilar is an appropriate substitution for a brand-name biologic. The FDA has approved 28 biosimilars. Out of the 28 approved, 16 have indications for cancer treatment or for supportive care of cancer patients by increasing red and white blood cell counts.

Pyrotinib in HER2- Mutated Advanced NSCLC Previously Treated with Chemotherapy

A multiple site, open-label, single-arm, phase II study, conducted in China explored the efficacy and safety of pyrotinib. Pyrotinib is an oral, irreversible, pan-ErbB tyrosine kinase inhibitor against HER1, HER2, and HER4 in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harbouring HER2 mutations, who had received at least one prior platinum-containing chemotherapy for advanced/metastatic disease. The study’s lead said that the results were promising, showing pyrotinib has promising antitumor activity with an acceptable safety profile.

Drugmakers will start coronavirus vaccine production by end of summer, Trump health officials say

U.S. health officials stated that the United States is on track to have a coronavirus vaccine by early 2021. Johnson & Johnson and Moderna are among several firms on the list to produce the vaccine. Production of the vaccine is expected to begin by the end of summer 2020, with anticipated delivery of 300 million vaccine doses by “early 2021.” Manufacturing sites and materials are already being secured even though a final vaccine has not been selected yet.