To hear Amgen CMO Sean Harper tell it, the company's new bone drug Xgeva is about to take Zometa by storm. Harper told Forbes that Xgeva "has a clearly superior profile to the existing standard of care [read: Novartis's Zometa, the magazine says]. I expect it to have a very large impact."
What has Harper so excited? Xgeva has proven to stave off bone metastases in some prostate cancer patients, and the company plans to file for that new FDA indication later this year. That research didn't show an improvement in overall survival, but Harper contends that the trial wasn't designed to determine that--and that doctors are chuffed by the data anyway.
"People are very excited," he told Forbes. "[W]e have done something that bisphosphonates have never been able to do. That has caught the attention of the prescribers." Bisphosphonates, as you know, are older bone drugs--such as Zometa and Roche's* Boniva--used to treat osteoporosis and to prevent complications in patients whose tumors have spread to the bone, as Xgeva is now approved to do. Harper estimates that there are up to 60,000 prostate cancer patients per year who could qualify for Xgeva treatment to prevent bone metastases.
- read the Forbes story
* Editor's Note: Story corrected to note that Boniva is a Roche product (not Eli Lilly). We apologize for the error.