Top Biopharma News for 05/24/2024


Here are the latest stories being discussed in biopharma today:

Healthcare Market News

Verastem’s Stock Plummets Following Ovarian Cancer Filing Update

Verastem Oncology experienced a dramatic drop in its stock value, falling nearly 60% to under $5 per share. This followed an announcement concerning its filing for accelerated approval of a targeted drug combination in a smaller-than-expected population of ovarian cancer patients. This news overshadowed their previous gains from promising trial results in pancreatic cancer, where five out of six patients saw their tumors shrink by more than 30%.

#ASCO24: Key Data From Merus, MorphoSys and Others

In the latest updates from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, several companies shone brightly. Merus reported a surge in its stock price by over 20% after revealing positive Phase 2 trial results for petosemtamab in combination with Merck’s Keytruda for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Ten patients evaluated for efficacy showed one complete response and five partial responses.

Novo Nordisk Reports Significant Cardiovascular and Mortality Benefits for Semaglutide in Kidney Disease

Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide demonstrated a 24% reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events and death from multiple causes in patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. These compelling results from a Phase 3 study were presented at the European Renal Association’s conference and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reinforcing the drug’s potential in broadening its therapeutic indications.

HI-Bio Data Behind Biogen’s $1.15 Billion Purchase

Human Immunology Biosciences (HI-Bio) disclosed Phase 2 trial data that played a pivotal role in its recent acquisition by Biogen for $1.15 billion. HI-Bio’s anti-CD38 antibody, felzartamab, showed an average reduction in protein urine levels up to 50% in IgA nephropathy patients over two years. Patients on the drug also maintained stable eGFR levels, indicating consistent kidney function.

Jean-Paul Clozel Steps Down as Idorsia CEO

Jean-Paul Clozel announced his retirement as CEO of Idorsia, an Actelion follow-up, effective June 13. However, Clozel will remain connected to the company as he stands for election as chairman. His successor, André Muller, will move into the CEO role while Clozel plans to support the company in realizing its potential. Concurrently, Idorsia’s board will see changes with new nominations including ex-Galapagos president Bart Filius.

Zealand Declares Safety of New ‘Double-G’ Drug Despite Moderate Results

Zealand Pharma has introduced dapiglutide, a combination targeting both GLP-1 and GLP-2 receptors. In the 54-participant DREAM trial, the drug showed modest weight loss results of 2.9% and 4.3% for the 4 mg and 6 mg doses, respectively, compared to a 2.2% placebo group reduction. This data is situated within a competitive landscape where other drugs like Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide and Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide have reported higher weight loss percentages.