ARIAD Building an Oncology Business Around Discovery, Development, and Commercialization

In an exclusive PropThink interview with ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA), CEO Harvey J. Berger discusses the company’s lead product, ponatinib, a potential treatment  for intolerant Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) which was submitted in full to the FDA for regulatory review in late September. Berger explains that CML is an enormous market opportunity – upwards of $5 billion – and that ponatinib has shown promising results as an important treatment option. He discusses timeframes for an ongoing Phase III head-to-head trial of ponatinib against Novartis’ (NYSE:NVS) Gleevec, one of the primary CML treatments on the market, and says that ponatinib is the first BCR-ABL inhibitor that blocks all mutations and resistances in the protein. That trial, he says, may set the stage for ponatinib to become a therapy for newly-diagnosed patients, and compete with drugs like Gleevec and Tasigna, both from Novartis, and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE:BMY) Sprycel.

The interview also includes discussion of AP26113, ARIAD’s early-stage drug for Non Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). While existing treatments such as Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) Xalkori ultimately fail at some point during treatment, Berger believes AP26113 will overcome those resistances and shortcomings. The drug’s first clinical data was released in September, and Berger discusses the next step in development, a pivotal trial for the treatment. He also mentions the company’s ambitious plan for product commercialization and the events that have driven ARIAD to become a $4 billion company.