Wed, Mar. 30, 8:22 AM
- The FDA designates Vical's (NASDAQ:VICL) VL-2397 for Fast Track review for the treatment of invasive aspergillosis, an infection caused by inhaling the ubiquitous Aspergillus fungus. It is inconsequential in people with a normally functioning immune system, but can be dangerous in those with weakened immunity such as those undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy for leukemia or with AIDS.
- VL-2397, based on an isolate from a leaf litter fungus Acremonium species collected in Malaysia, was initially developed by strategic partner Astellas Pharma (OTCPK:ALPMF) (OTCPK:ALPMY). A Phase 1 study was recently initiated.
- The FDA designated it a Qualified Infectious Disease Product in August 2015 and an Orphan Drug in January of this year.
- Shares are up 16% premarket on increased volume.
Tue, Feb. 16, 11:53 AM
- Data from a Phase 2 clinical trial assessing FibroGen's (FGEN +4.9%) oral agent roxadustat for the treatment of anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) showed that patients on hemodialysis who were previously receiving epoetin alfa [Amgen's (AMGN +1.1%) EPOGEN or J&J's (JNJ +0.3%) PROCRIT] but switched to roxadustat maintained hemoglobin (Hb) levels regardless of iron deletion status, degree of inflammation or prior iron regimen over six or 19 weeks. The results were published in the American Journal of Kidney Disease.
- In the first part of the study, lasting six weeks, lowest dose roxadustat (1.0 mg/kg 3x/week) maintained hemoglobin levels on par with epoetin alfa. Some separation was seen at higher doses of at least 1.5 mg/kg with 79% of patients showing a hemoglobin response compared to 33% for epoetin alfa.
- In the second part of the study, 51% of the roxadustat cohort achieved a Hb level of at least 11.0 g/dL compared to 36% for epoetin alfa (normal range is 13.5 - 17.5 for men and 12.0 - 15.5 for women). In addition, maintenance dosing of roxadustat was not correlated with levels of the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP). Decreases in cholesterol and hepcidin (key regulator of iron) were also observed in the roxadustat group.
- Roxadustat is an orally administered small molecule inhibitor of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) prolyl hydroxylase. HIF is a protein transcription factor that "turns on" the production of red blood cells (erythropoiesis). Its value proposition is the ability to maintain hemoglobin levels in CKD patients without affecting inflammation and potentially avoiding the need for ongoing intravenous iron repletion therapy as needed with epoetin alfa.
- It is currently in Phase 3 development through collaborations with AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and Astellas Pharma (OTCPK:ALPMF) (OTCPK:ALPMY).
- Previously: Data from mid-stage study show CKD patients with anemia respond to FibroGen's roxadustat in dose-related manner (Aug. 13, 2015)
Thu, Jan. 21, 4:03 PM
- Micro cap XenoPort (NASDAQ:XNPT) spiked at the close to finish up 9% for the day, albeit on below average volume, on a rumor that it is exploring a sale.
- Its markets one commercial product: HORIZANT (gabapentin enacarbil), for restless legs syndrome (RLS) and postherpetic neuralgia. It is branded as REGNITE in Japan, where Astellas Pharma (OTCPK:ALPMY)(OTCPK:ALPMF) exclusively markets it. It was cleared for the treatment of RLS there in January 2012.
- Its two main pipeline candidates are XP23829 for psoriasis and multiple sclerosis and XP21279 for Parkinson's disease.
Nov. 10, 2015, 6:57 AM
- Astellas Pharma (OTCPK:ALPMF)(OTCPK:ALPMY) acquires Ocata Therapeutics (NASDAQ:OCAT) for $8.50 per share in cash or ~$379M. The tender offer will commence no late than November 25 and will not extend beyond May 9, 2016. The transaction will enable Astellas to establish a presence in ophthalmology and a leading position in cell therapy.
- The deal is not expected to impact Astellas' fiscal year (ended March 31) financials to a significant degree.
- OCAT closed yesterday at $4.46.
Dec. 13, 2013, 11:06 AM
- Aveo Pharma (AVEO -15.1%) says its lead experimental drug tivozanib was unlikely to succeed in a mid-stage colon cancer study that was testing if the drug was superior to an approved treatment.
- Partner Astellas (ALPMF, ALPMY) was testing the drug in combination with standard chemotherapy against cancer drug bevacizumab with standard chemotherapy, for use in previously untreated patients with advanced colorectal cancer.
- Aveo has seen a string of failures associated with the drug; the FDA denied approval for the drug's use in renal cell carcinoma in June, citing inconsistent patient survival data.
Nov. 1, 2013, 3:29 PM
- Astellas Pharma (ALPMY) reports H1 consolidated net sales ( ¥ millions) of ¥556,702, up 16.7% Y/Y.
- Net income ( ¥ millions) for H1 falls 16% Y/Y to ¥48.195. (full results)
- Xtandi U.S. sales of ~$190M for April-September. (supplementary documents)
- Backing out FQ1 sales of $82M gets ~$108M in U.S. Xtandi sales for FQ2.
- These numbers are likely behind the rally in shares of Medivation (MDVN +10.1%), Astellas' Xtandi partner.
Oct. 22, 2013, 10:19 AM
- After observing benefits in OS and radiographic PFS (co-primary endpoints), the IDMC for Medivation (MDVN +3.7%) and Astellas Pharma's (ALPMF +0.9%) Phase 3 PREVAIL trial of enzalutamide in metastatic prostate cancer recommends "the study be stopped and patients treated with placebo be offered enzalutamide."
- Enzalutamide reduced the risk of death by 30% (Hazard Ratio .70), and patients saw an 81% reduction in risk of radiographic progression or death (Hazard Ratio 0.19).
- Here's Dr. Tomasz Beer, professor of medicine and deputy director of the Knight Cancer Institute: "To my knowledge, the benefits in overall survival and radiographic progression-free survival reported in today's PREVAIL trial results are unprecedented in this patient population." (PR)
Aug. 1, 2013, 3:40 PM
- As reported here earlier, Astellas Pharma's (ALPMY.PK +1%) quarterly report showed Xtandi sales of $82M. That's short of consensus and bad news for partner Medivation (MDVN -1.3%).
- More color: William Blair's forecast was for sales of $85.2M (so a big miss there) — Astellas' full year Xtandi sales guidance of $400M is well below the firm's estimate of $459M.
Jun. 25, 2013, 8:18 AMCytokinetics (CYTK +9.8%) grants Astellas (ALPMF.PK) an exclusive license to co-develop and commercialize Cytokinetics' CK-2127107 treatment for muscle weakness, which is in Phase I trials. Cytokinetics will receive $16M up front and is eligible to receive over $24M in reimbursements during the first two years. Astellas could also pay $450M in R&D and sales milestones and royalties, as well as make other milestone payments. (8-K) | Jun. 25, 2013, 8:18 AM
Apr. 26, 2013, 11:12 AM
Medivation (MDVN +0.6%) and Astellas Pharma (ALPMF.PK) say the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended approval for the oral androgen receptor inhibitor XTANDI (approved in the U.S.) for adult men with progressed metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Other CHMP news: Pfizer's (PFE -1.1%) arthritis pill Xeljanz is rejected (appeal to come), Roche (RHHBY.OB +0.2%) and Curis' (CRIS +4.5%) Erivedge for basal cell carcinoma gets a recommendation, and Vivus' (VVUS +3.7%) ED drug Spedra gets a positive review. (See also: AVNR and CELG get thumbs up from EU regulators)| Apr. 26, 2013, 11:12 AM | 1 Comment