J&J's chemo drug shortage hits Amgen, Lilly, Endocyte trials

Got Doxil? Not only are thousands of patients waiting for their doses of the chemo drug in short supply, there's a long list of drug developers in need of Johnson & Johnson's Doxil for clinical trials of experimental therapies. Dow Jones Newswires' Peter Loftus took a look at how the shortage has hit home for multiple key drug programs for Amgen ($AMGN), Eli Lilly ($LLY) and small developer Endocyte ($ECYT).

There are 30 clinical trials that involve the use of Doxil either as part of a combo treatment or as a comparator drug for a control group, Dow Jones reports, and several of those trials have suffered delays or had to pause because of the shortage. The story comes on the heels of President Obama's big call to action for drugmakers and regulators yesterday on myriad drugs in short supply.

For Endocyte, the Doxil shortage impacts a trial for its lead drug EC145 for treating ovarian cancer. The developer has said that a prolonged shortage of the drug could delay its trial in which its compound is used in combination with Doxil, Dow Jones reports. Fortunately, that study has stayed on schedule, a spokeswoman told the news service. Yet Lilly's trial of a combo of Doxil and the drug tasisulam for ovarian cancer has slowed due to the shortage. For others, the problem is even worse.

"I would begin to be concerned about the ability to complete a trial if this goes on for an extended period of time," Levi Downs, of the University of Minnesota Medical School, told Dow Jones. Downs' study involving the chemo drug hit the brakes this summer because of the shortage.

Editor's Note: The link to the Dow Jones piece has been removed from our post because the story no longer appears at this location on The Wall Street Journal's website.

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