Who's who in Big Pharma offers appetizing look at ASCO data

With the big American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting coming up in two weeks, anticipation about the coming onslaught of data is mounting. Last night, ASCO released some key abstracts for studies to be presented at the meeting, offering an aperitif to oncology-drug followers. Here is a sampling of news, some from our sister publication FierceBiotech:

  • Immunotherapies are promising to be the stars at this year's ASCO meeting, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing studies from Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) in melanoma and from Roche ($RHHBY) in several different cancers, including advanced skin cancer. Report
  • Among Bayer's anticipated ASCO data is a study looking at the liver and kidney cancer drug Nexavar in patients with thyroid cancer. The company will also be rolling out new data on its colon cancer drug Stivarga, with new studies and analysis in gastrointestinal stromal tumors, liver cancer and colon cancer. The brand-new Xofigo, a radiotherapy for prostate cancer, also gets new analysis. Release | Analyst Report
  • New data on Onyx Pharmaceuticals' ($ONXX) multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis showed its effectiveness in various combination therapies, including a four-drug combo of Kyprolis, the chemo drugs carfilzomib and dexamethasone, and the Celgene ($CELG) blood cancer drug Revlimid. The regimen had an overall response rate of 69%, despite 42% of participants previously failing on Revlimid. Release | Analyst Note
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb edged ahead in the race to develop a new immunotherapy to fight cancer. Several companies are working on PD-1 drugs, which strip away defense mechanisms tumor cells use to fight T-cells, but BMS study data showed that 40% of melanoma patients responded to a combination of its PD-1 therapy, nivolumab, with the already marketed Yervoy. Almost one-third of the patients saw their tumors shrink by more than 80% in 12 weeks. Report | Report
  • Gilead Sciences ($GILD), best known for its antiviral drugs, is making an ambitious bid to build a portfolio in oncology. A small, early-stage study, featuring its leukemia drug idelalisib, shrank tumors in more than half of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, delivering medial progression-free survival of 17 months. Gilead is now looking to work with FDA on an accelerated development timeline. Report
  • Aiming to grab some of the ASCO spotlight, AstraZeneca announced that it was revving up development of its oncology program, moving three drugs into phase III. The company needs all the help it can get on the pipeline front, as patent expirations sap its sales and some of its recent drug candidates have fallen flat. Release | Report
  • In a boost for Roche's bid for a follow-up to Rituxan, Roche's new leukemia drug bested the older med in a leukemia study. Obinutuzumab, also known as GA101, added to chemo not only beat chemotherapy alone, but also delivered against a combination of Rituxan and chemotherapy. The new combo reduced the risk of death by 86% and showed an average period of progression-free survival of 23 months, compared with 10 months for the chemo arm. Report | Release

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