Pfizer, AZ feel the heat as Tesaro wows with stellar PARP data

COPENHAGEN, Denmark--Pressure’s on, Pfizer.

Saturday at the ESMO 2016 Congress, Tesaro rolled out data showing its PARP inhibitor, niraparib, improved outcomes for all women with recurrent ovarian cancer, posting progression-free survival benefits larger than have ever been seen in recurrent ovarian cancer.

But Medivation, Pfizer’s latest pickup, has said its own PARP prospect can do better.

The California biotech’s CEO, David Hung, has trumpeted Medivation’s talazoparib as a “best-in-class” PARP player, a mantra that got plenty of airtime while Big Pharmas including Sanofi, Amgen, Novartis, AstraZeneca and others were reportedly weighing bids.

And it worked out in Medivation’s favor: When Tesaro posted its stellar top-line results in June, investors responded by taking Medivation’s shares north--and raising the stakes for potential bidders.

Ultimately, it was Pfizer that walked away with the prize after inking a whopper $14 billion deal for the oncology drugmaker. But now, talazoparib will have to live up to the hype.

Meanwhile, Pfizer isn’t the only pharma giant that may be bracing after Tesaro’s announcement. AstraZeneca’s Lynparza--indicated only for recurrent ovarian cancer patients with the BRCA mutation, who make up between 10% and 15% of the overall ovarian cancer population--will be under the gun if Tesaro’s newest data help it win a far-reaching label.

While the BRCA mutation group in the niraparib study showed the largest median progression-free survival figure--15.5 months--even those thought least likely to benefit from the drug--patients without the mutation who also tested negative to another diagnostic, Myriad Genetics’ HRD--experienced a 3.1-month benefit.

“These landmark results could change the way we treat this disease,” lead study author Mansoor Raza Mirza said in a statement. “Once it is approved by the regulatory authorities, I’ll consider niraparib for all my patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who respond to platinum regardless of BRCA status.”

- read the release

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