Vical is conducting the allovectin study under a Special Protocol Assessment from the FDA that gave the OK to use durable response as the primary endpoint, but that doesn't necessarily relieve the company of demonstrating that allovectin can prolong the survival of skin cancer patients. Recently, two experimental skin cancer drugs, one from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and the other from Roche -- have produced positive phase III results that include a survival benefit. If allovectin cannot match the efficacy of these two drugs, results from its phase III study, even if positive, may be clinically irrelevant.
Chris C. asks, "Do you have any indication of when the FDA is going to meet regarding Mela Sciences' (MELA) MelaFind application? I thought the date was early January but see no indication of such. Any insight or information you have is much appreciated."
The last we heard from Mela was in November when an FDA advisory panel voted (surprisingly) to endorse the approval of the company's MELAFind skin cancer-detection device. The positive panel vote came over the strong objections of the FDA, which voiced strong objections to MELAFind's approvability.
Advisory panel votes aren't binding on the FDA, and the agency doesn't have a deadline by which it needs to make an approval decision, so it's impossible to predict when that FDA decision may come.Mela has not had much to say publicly since November but I do hear CEO Joe Gulfo has been meeting privately with investors, saying he expects FDA approval and talking up MELAFind launch plans. Whether or not Mela has met with the FDA since the November panel isn't clear, although the company hasn't made any announcement about an FDA meeting.
Steve M. asks, "I was wondering if you could give us an update on Labopharm (DDSS) and their new
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