Four days after Acerta Pharma quietly posted some promising early-stage data on its Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor acalabrutinib, AstraZeneca has popped up as a potential buyer. Dow Jones reported Friday afternoon that the pharma giant is well down the road in talks to buy Acerta for more than $5 billion, potentially landing another cancer drug for its growing oncology pipeline.
Eventual winner Johnson & Johnson wasn't Pharmacyclics' first choice to partner with on ibrutinib, CEO Robert Duggan told FierceBiotech in January, but, as The Wall Street Journal lays out, J&J and its expansive approach to dealmaking won out in the end.
With the American Society of Hematology meeting in New Orleans, a slew of blood cancer studies are in the spotlight. Three of the releases caught our eye, because they're significant new data on drugs already on the market.
Another cancer drug approval, another nosebleed-level price. Johnson & Johnson and Pharmacyclics' breakthrough drug Imbruvica (ibrutinib) won FDA approval yesterday for a rare form of lymphoma. Soon after, the companies said Imbruvica would be priced at more than $90 per pill. At four pills per day, that's about $130,000 per year.
Every drugmaker dreams of developing a drug so important that it shakes up an entire market. And it happens--just think of Johnson & Johnson's Zytiga, the prostate cancer drug that has not only grown by leaps and bounds, but arguably nudged aside Dendreon's competing treatment, Provenge. Want new examples? That's what Motley Fool offers today.
In drug development, everything's a gamble, if you're doing something new and shooting at a big target. But there has to be a reasonable assumption that if safety issues aren't being glossed over and the efficacy data hold up, these top drugs can change standards of care and grab market share. So here's my pick of the likely big winners >>
J&J knows how to do a big licensing deal with some serious short-term incentives tied to it. And that swaggering deal style was on full display this morning when Pharmacyclics announced that the FDA has accepted their NDA on the closely-watched cancer drug ibrutinib, triggering a $75 million milestone payment and bringing its cash tally to at least $375 million.
Johnson & Johnson and Vertex Pharmaceuticals gave the thumbs-up to FDA's new breakthrough drug program, designed to speed development of promising therapies.
For a long time, pharma companies have looked to large disease populations as the biggest potential revenue streams. But those days are long gone. That perception has shifted, especially with the prescription drug market stagnating in the U.S. and Europe. Orphan drugs--pharmaceutical treatments for rare diseases or disorders--have proven themselves as viable moneymakers, and the industry has taken note. Read the report >>
Two years ago, Quest Diagnostics picked up Celera and its gene-based testing tech for $657 million in cash. And today it cashed in a lottery ticket it picked up in the deal, selling the royalty rights Celera held for the breakthrough cancer drug ibrutinib for $485 million.