Amid Buyout Buzz, Mirati Pushes Phase III NSCLC Study to Final Analysis

Lung cancer

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Amid rampant buyout speculation, Mirati Therapeutics reported that it will continue its final analysis of the Phase III SAPPHIRE trial following an interim survival analysis.

Friday, San Diego-based Mirati announced its commitment to completing the late-stage study assessing investigational spectrum-selective kinase inhibitor, sitravatinib, combined with the checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo, in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). 

Mirati is developing the combination treatment as a third- or fourth-line option for patients with NSCLC. Mirati officials said that they anticipate the final data analysis ought to be out by mid-2023.

Mirati didn’t share additional details about the ongoing study in the announcement.

The company is assessing sitravatinib in clinical trials as a treatment for patients who are resistant to prior immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy and who have progressed on platinum doublet therapy.

Beyond the combination with Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo, Mirati has also paired the drug with BeiGene’s checkpoint inhibitor, tislelizumab.

Buyout Rumors Swirl

The information comes fewer than two weeks after reports surfaced that the company was considered a takeover target.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported the company garnered interest from large pharmaceutical companies. Bloomberg didn’t identify any potential buyers, and the sources said no deal was imminent.

This wouldn’t be the first time Mirati has been considered a target for acquisition. Last year, rumors surfaced that Merck was considering a bid for Mirati.

Mirati has a market cap of $5.1 billion. Some larger companies are reportedly interested in late-2022 bolt-on deals to complement or diversify their portfolios and pipelines.

Wednesday, Horizon Therapeutics confirmed it was being courted by three large pharmaceutical companies—Johnson & Johnson, Amgen and Sanofi. Horizon Therapeutics is significantly larger than Mirati, with a market cap of more than $23 billion.

GSK, which went through a split earlier this year separating its pharmaceuticals business from its consumer health business, is also rumored to be targeted for acquisition.

Swiss Pharma giant Novartis, which has a long history with GSK, was reported to be interested in acquiring the U.K. company.

Any such deal would be massive, as GSK has a market cap of nearly $70 billion.

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