For InterMune's pirfenidone, investors will likely focus on liver safety due to the previously reported, single case of Hy's Law in the ASCEND study. [It should be noted that pirfenidone is already approved in Europe, where the drug has been used in thousands of IPF patients with no significant liver-safety problems reported.]
For Boehringer's nintedanib, diarrhea -- reported in 61.5% and 63.2% of patients across the two studies -- will be the key safety issue. Nintedanib is a VEGFR inhibitor, like Roche's Avastin, so another topic of discussion next week will be how pulmonologists -- the doctors who treat IPF patients -- will deal with side effects more commonly associated with cancer drugs, says Skorney.
I'll follow up next week with a comparison of the two IPF drugs, based on the new data we get at the ATS meeting.
>>Also See: Northwest Bio Exploits Cancer Patient To Promote Stock Ahead of ASCO '14
>>Also See: AstraZeneca Drug Shrinks Lung Cancers Typically Hardened by Genetic Mutation
>>Also See: The First Look At Incyte's ASCO '14 Study Results