Aug 4


  • NZ’s PHARMAC to fund six new treatments
    • New Zealand’s Pharmac received $124 million as part of funding boost by the NZ Government in 2016 Budget. The funding would be used for the treatment of six new treatments. Opdivo (nivolumab) for advanced melanoma, rituximab for nephrotic syndrome in children, and Harvoni and Viekira Pak for hepatitis C is available from the start of July. Oestradiol patches for menopausal women would be available from August, and temozolomide for brain tumours would be available from December.
  • NICE asks Janssen to put leukemia drug forward for new Cancer Drugs Fund
    • 1 in 10 adults with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) have a form of cancer with genetic changes that make their disease progress quicker and more difficult to treat. The independent advisory committee of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) felt ibrutinib could benefit patients whose CLL has these genetic changes, particularly those who have not yet received treatment. Thus, NICE has invited Janssen to submit a proposal to include ibrutinib in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) as they feel that this drug might benefit these patients. Conditional funding will be made available for ibrutinib in the CDF while more evidence is gathered to show how well it works, if the proposal is accepted by NICE.
  • EC grants conditional approval for Janssen’s daratumumab
    • European Commission has granted conditional approval for Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, Janssen-Cilag International, for its Darzalex (daratumumab). It is used for monotherapy of adult patients affected with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (MM). Further, this drug can be used on MM patients whose earlier therapy included a proteasome inhibitor (PI) and an immunomodulatory agent, and who have exhibited disease progression on the last therapy. Daratumumab is the first CD38-directed monoclonal antibody (mAb) to be approved in Europe.
  • FDA approves Bristol Myers-Squibb’s Opdivo in rare blood cancer
    • It brings to eight the number of approvals for Opdivo across four different cancers in less than two years. Patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) who have relapsed or progressed after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (auto-HSCT) and post-transplantation brentuximab vedotin, who have exhausted other treatment options, will now have access to a new treatment. Opdivo is a PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor that binds to the checkpoint receptor PD-1 expressed on activated T-cells, and blocks the binding of PD-L1 and PD-L2, preventing the PD-1 pathway’s suppressive signaling on the immune system, including the interference with an anti-tumor immune response.

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