GSK's Slaoui talks up 'innovative' late-stage pipeline as regulatory reviews loom

Moncef Slaoui, GSK's R&D chief

Drugmakers might keep the lights on with approvals of new drugs that offer marginal benefits, but pharma chiefs understand that only pioneering therapies pave the way to explosive growth. And GlaxoSmithKline's chairman of R&D has been touting the innovative and advanced nature of contenders in the drug giant's late-stage pipeline.

Moncef Slaoui talked to Dow Jones Newswires about some of top prospects in the company's ($GSK) vaunted late-stage pipeline, seemingly more excited about those "highly innovative" therapies than some of his drugs under review that could hit the market even sooner. That's because some of those other under-review therapies, including the once-weekly GLP1 drug for diabetes called albiglutide, are not first-in-class and face competition from established drugs already on the market.

On the other hand, Slaoui singled out GSK's late-stage cancer immunotherapy MAGE-A3, which whips a patient's immune system into action to ID and attack tumor cells, as one of the company's "breakthrough innovations," as Dow Jones' Peter Loftus quoted the R&D chairman. The London-based drugmaker has advanced the candidate into separate Phase III trials for patients with melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer, with initial results from one of the studies expected as early as late this year.

Slaoui also spotlighted darapladib, the add-on LpPLA2 enzyme blocker to statins from Human Genome Sciences, as one of the other innovative meds in the late-stage stockpile.

While GSK boasts 14 late-stage programs with results expected over the next couple years, company CEO Andrew Witty has a lot riding on those 6 drugs under regulatory review. As Loftus notes, the company's big hope to sustain its respiratory business after Advair patents fizzle, called Breo, faces an FDA panel on March 7 and a decision on approval in May.

Breo offers once-daily dosing, Advair twice daily. But Breo is under the microscope for how much better the treatment performs than other meds for asthma and smoker's cough or COPD.

- see Loftus' story from Dow Jones

Special Reports: Moncef Slaoui - The 25 most influential people in biopharma today | GlaxoSmithKline - The Biggest R&D Spenders In Biopharma

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