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Ariad Is Rolling Right On Track In Q3 With Its Lung Cancer Drug


Ariad Pharmaceuticals has been making a few key pushes this year, including expanded trials for its CML drug ponatinib.

Another critical development in the pipeline is the ALK inhibitor brigatinib, which is useful for certain forms of lung cancer.

Ariad has completed its rolling NDA for brigatinib, which starts the clock for when we find out if it gets approved.

I've written favorably on Ariad (NASDAQ:ARIA) with respect to its developmental platforms and its expansion of current products. In particular, I think ponatinib (for treatment of CML) has a great chance to provide ARIA with a firm basis of support in sales growth.

But we know a little less about brigatinib, its emerging lung cancer drug. This agent is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor directed against ALK, a key target in a subset of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

This disease subset is currently managed with agents like crizotinib, alectinib, and ceritinib, and brigatinib represents a new iteration in this line.

However, it differentiates itself in a couple of key ways. For starters, brigatinib has activity against EGFR, as well, which could provide a two-pronged approach to resistant disease. It's worth noting that this possibility is a weak one at this time, though, since ALK-positive lung cancer is not known to correspond to EGFR-positive lung cancer, and a rationale for targeting both of these at the same time has not been established, to my knowledge.

Brigatinib might have activity against mutants that render ALK resistant to other second-generation inhibitors like alectinib and ceritinib, though. This could help it gain a place as a unique, approved entity.

The news

Earlier this year, Ariad announced that it had begun a...