The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Nexavar (sorafenib; Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Onyx Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of patients with metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer. The drug, which inhibits the VEGF receptor and several other targets, was approved for advanced renal cancer in 2005 and for unresectable liver cancer in 2007.
The FDA also granted its first marketing authorization for clinical use of a next-generation genomic sequencer. FDA head Margaret Hamburg, MD, and NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, described the decision in a New England Journal of Medicine commentary [doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1314561].
Clovis Oncology of Boulder, CO, acquired Ethical Oncology Science of Milan, Italy, for its drug lucitanib, an oral inhibitor for FGF receptors 1 and 2 and VEGF receptors 1, 2, and 3. The purchase price is $200 million up front plus other potential payments depending on achieving certain milestones. Clovis will partner with Servier of Suresnes, France, for global development of lucitanib.
Juno Therapeutics, which will develop cancer immunotherapies based on T-cell reprogramming, was jointly launched by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Seattle Children's Research Institute. Based in Seattle, WA, the startup initially raised $120 million for work to develop therapies based on chimeric antigen receptor and T-cell receptor technologies.
An analysis from the American Cancer Society warns that if current trends continue, the number of adults in Africa who smoke could increase to 573 million by 2100, from 77 million today. The report suggests that if African countries put appropriate tobacco polices in place, they could avoid 139 million premature deaths by that date.
In 2014, the world market for prescription drugs will hit the $1 trillion mark, predicts a report from the IMS Institute for Health Informatics in Parsippany, NJ. China will represent 34% of the growth in global medicine spending over the next 5 years, the report estimates.
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