After entering the oncology market with the acquisition of Tesaro in late 2018, GSK said it would seek an indication for ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, and endometrial cancer in 2020.
GSK CEO Emma Walmsley revealed the company’s plan at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020 in San Francisco, the U.S., on Tuesday.
In December 2018, GSK bought the oncology-focused biotech firm Tesaro for $5.1 billion to enhance anticancer pipelines.
At the time, Tesaro was selling Zejula (ingredient: niraparib), a poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, in the U.S. and Europe. With the acquisition, GSK instantly became a strong rival to AstraZeneca, which sells Lynparza (olaparib).
PARP inhibitors are expanding the scope of treatment to breast cancer and pancreatic cancer from the initial indication for ovarian cancer.
Although a small number of cancer patients use PARP inhibitors, the agent has opened a new era for curated treatment for patients with BRCA-positive mutation, experts said.
GSK said it would expand Zejula’s indication this year. The treatment was authorized as second-line maintenance therapy for platinum-sensitive, progress or metastatic ovarian cancer. The company wants the treatment to be also used as first-line maintenance therapy.
In addition to Zejula’s broader indication, Walmsley said GSK would also launch dostarlimab, another new drug candidate that Tesaro used to have.
Dostarlimab (TSR-042) is an investigational anti-programmed death (PD)-1 monoclonal antibody. It proved its potential for treating advanced or metastatic endometrial cancer and is awaiting FDA approval this year.
Besides, GSK has belantamab mafodotin (GSK2857916) to treat patients with multiple myeloma who did not respond to existing therapies such as proteasome inhibitors and Darzalex (daratumumab).
Walmsley stressed Tesaro provided GSK with highly skilled employees with deep expertise in oncology. Those experts offered know-how not only in R&D but regulatory, medical affairs, marketing, and sales, she said.
Through exceptional hiring of Tesaro’s professionals and giving incentives to excellent sales representatives, GSK has continued to encourage Tesaro workers’ engagement, Walmsley added.
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