Abbvie scraps cystic fibrosis triplet

Vertex’s dominance of cystic fibrosis has a lot to do with lack of competition, and a setback with Abbvie’s rival mid-stage programme, revealed today, removes a threat to the big biotech’s monopoly. A phase 2 triplet project will be scrapped after efficacy disappointed at an interim analysis, Abbvie said alongside first-quarter results, with the C2 corrector ABBV-119 apparently the weak link. The doublet backbone – C1 corrector ABBV-222 and potentiator ABBV-3067 – performed well and will be pushed forward, with a new C2 corrector, ABBV-576, being added in to create a new triplet. Executives described ’576 as structurally distinct from ’119 with a better pharmacokinetic profile and higher drug exposure; a new phase 2 will start early next year. With no data disclosed it is hard to know what precisely this means for Vertex, but at the very least the prospect of competition can once again be kicked down the road. Vertex shares climbed 4% in early trade. The news is another blow to Galapagos, the source of much of Abbvie's CF work. While it is not immediately clear where ’576 originated, it seems unlikely to be another project from the beleaguered European biotech. 

Abbvie's cystic fibrosis pipeline 
Project Combination? Status  Trial 
Doublet ABBV-2222 (galicaftor) + ABBV-3067 (navocaftor) Ongoing  NCT03969888
Triplet  ABBV-2222 (galicaftor) + ABBV-3067 (navocaftor) + ABBV-119 Abandoned  NCT04853368
Triplet  ABBV-2222 (galicaftor) + ABBV-3067 (navocaftor) + ABBV-576 To enter ph2 early 2023  TBC 
Source: company communications.

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