The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Genitourinary Cancers Symposium provides several top stories this week including a promising combination therapy from Bristol-Myers Squibb and an announcement from Mustang Bio. The FDA announced they are halting inspections of Chinese plants due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and also warned against potential medical supply chain disruptions as global demand for drugs and medical supplies increases. Read on for more top stories in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.
FDA anticipates disruptions, shortages as China outbreak plays out
The FDA, responding to the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in China, has ceased all inspections of manufacturing plants in China. The agency is also preparing for a shortage of drugs and medical supplies in the United States as the situation in China continues to develop. Although the outbreak is worse in China than anywhere else in the world, it is likely to disrupt the medical supply chain globally as demand for drugs and critical supplies to contain the infection continue to rise.
BMS leans on new long-term Opdivo data in crowded kidney cancer field
Bristol-Myers Squibb announced at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Genitourinary Cancers Symposium data on the Opdivo-Yervoy combo that promises to improve outcomes for patients with kidney cancer. More than half (56%) of patients treated with Opdivo-Yervoy were alive at the 42-month mark, compared with 39% of those taking Pfizer’s Sutent. More patients responded to BMS’s combo and 11% of those in the combo group saw their cancer completely vanish. That compares with just 2% of Sutent patients. 86% of patients in that group still showed no signs of cancer at the 42-month mark.
Mustang Bio Announces First Subject Treated in Phase 1/2 Trial with the Optimized CD20-targeted CAR T Cell Therapy MB-106
Mustang Bio, Inc. announced that the first subject treated with the optimized MB-106 (CD20-targeted, autologous CAR T cell therapy) manufacturing process, developed in collaboration between Mustang and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (“Fred Hutch”), has achieved a complete response (CR) at the lowest starting dose in an ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial. The trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of MB-106 in subjects with relapsed or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Mustang conducts research into cell and gene therapies with the goal of finding cures for hematologic cancers.
Federal court strikes down Trump administration’s Medicaid work requirements
A federal court ruled that the Trump administration’s Medicaid work requirement was unlawful, calling Secretary Azar’s ruling “capricious” and “arbitrary.” Judge David Sentelle, reviewing the verdict, returned to Medicaid’s primary purpose of providing healthcare for those who could not afford it to make his ruling. The unanimous decision upholds a previous 2019 decision from U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg.
Ongoing Investigator Sponsored Clinical Trial Of Sitravatinib In Combination With Nivolumab At The 2020 ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium
Mirati Therapeutics, Inc. announced the presentation of initial data from an ongoing investigator sponsored Phase 1/2 clinical trial of sitravatinib in combination with nivolumab in patients with advanced clear cell renal cell cancer (aCCRCC) who have documented progression on a prior VEGF-targeted therapy. The data were presented today in an oral abstract presentation by Pavlos Msaouel, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, at the 2020 ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, CA.
Over half of patients are not taking a drug due to cost, survey shows
According to a new survey, patients want to avoid sticker shock when it comes to their medications. They want to ask their doctors about the price of a recommended drug. Over half of the patients who responded to the Surescripts’ Prescription Price Transparency and the Patient Experience survey hadn’t taken medication due to cost. Three in 10 didn’t take a medication because of the wait time. Of those who didn’t take a medicine because of the cost, 94% said they would have considered taking a lower-cost alternative if a doctor or nurse had suggested it.
Ernst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices
Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) announced her support for a bipartisan bill to lower drug prices. Ernst supports the bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). Many Republican senators, however, continue to fight the bill. They object to its key provisions to limit drug price increases in Medicare due to inflation, citing the limitation as price control. About 12 GOP senators support the bill.