The European Society for Medical Oncology meeting may not be as enormous as its U.S. counterpart, but plenty of news is flowing. And some of the new data presented in Madrid over the weekend is pretty dramatic.
Over the weekend oncology investigators from all around the world gathered in Madrid at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2014 Congress to review the latest advances--and setbacks--in the fast-moving field of cancer drug research. As usual, the big companies dominated the discussions, as rival oncology groups touted new data as they tried to position competing therapies in the global scramble to develop new and better cancer drugs, now one of the hottest fields in R&D.
The debate around use of Merck's Gardasil in the United Kingdom is ratcheting up ahead of a meeting of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) in October.
The European Commission approved Merck Animal Health's poultry vaccine NOBILIS IB Primo QX to help protect chickens against viral infectious bronchitis.
With pharma companies fretting about the cost of co-developing biomarkers for cancer drugs during early development, Merck staffers have proposed a novel solution: Pay for patients to have their tumors sequenced. Survey data suggest patients are open to the idea.
Merck's new, once-a-week treatment for diabetes measured up to the company's top-selling Januvia in its first Phase III test, setting the stage for a Japanese regulatory application and stoking the drugmaker's hopes of another blockbuster in the space.
Merck is investing €80 million ($107.67 million) in a new plant in China to make treatments for diabetes and other conditions and to realize its aspirations there. But it appears it is looking to India as a way to cut production costs on some of its older products.
A growing buzz about potential safety issues has raised a cloud of doubt about Merck's osteoporosis drug odanacatib, which is likely to linger now that the pharma giant has released Phase III results and laid out plans for a delayed FDA filing.
When a shortage of BCG vaccine used to treat tuberculosis and bladder cancer developed two years ago because of serious problems at a Sanofi Pasteur plant, the FDA asked Merck to pick up the slack. But Merck has had supply issues that interrupted production that it is only now resolving.
Tax inversion deals--buying a controlling share in a sizable company to shave a corporate tax rate--are all the rage among pharma players. But to Ken Frazier, doing a mega deal just to pull off tax inversion doesn't make sense, at least not for Merck.