Johnson & Johnson’s portfolio expansion strategy
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is focused on advancing the launch of Erleada in nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. With Zytiga sales under pressure from generic competition, the company has been working to retain its prostate cancer patients. According to Johnson & Johnson’s first-quarter earnings conference call, Erleada gained a four-percentage-point market share in the US on a YoY basis. The drug is now being prescribed equally by urologists and well as oncologists, the two key prescribers for prostate cancer drugs.
On April 12, the FDA granted accelerated approval to Johnson & Johnson’s targeted therapy and FGFR (Fibroblast growth factor) inhibitor, Balversa, in the second line of locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer with FGFR3 or FGFR2 gene alterations. Patients eligible for this therapy have to be selected using Qiagen’s companion diagnostic, FGFR RGQ RT-PCR Kit. According to the FDA, bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the US, and FGFR gene alterations account for almost one-fifth of the recurrent or refractory bladder cancer patients.
On March 6, the FDA granted approval to Spravato nasal spray in combination with an oral antidepressant in the treatment-resistant depression indication. The agency, however, has allowed for the restricted distribution of the drug under its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy.
Gilead Sciences’ portfolio expansion strategy
After disappointing results from the late-stage STELLAR program, evaluating selonsertib in F3 and F4 fibrosis patients with NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), Gilead Sciences (GILD) has moved towards exploring non-invasive tests and evaluating combination regimens to diagnose and treat NASH. On April 12, Gilead Sciences announced a collaboration with Novo Nordisk for evaluating various combinations of the former’s FXR agonist cilofexor and ACC inhibitor firsocostat, with the latter’s GLP-1 analog semaglutide in the NASH indication.
Besides NASH, Gilead Sciences is also focused on advancing its position in the immunology segment. According to the first-quarter earnings conference call, based on robust data from the FINCH program, Gilead Sciences and Galapagos plan to file a regulatory application in Europe for the investigational selective JAK1 inhibitor, filgotinib, in the moderate to severely active rheumatoid arthritis indication in the second half of 2019.