J&J investing further in potential drugs for advanced prostate cancer

Johnson & Johnson has just acquired the rights to develop and sell a drug called niraparib for the treatment of prostate cancer everywhere in the world except Japan. The developer, Waltham, MA-based Tesaro, has retained the rights to niraparib in Japan.

Niraparib is an oral, once daily, potent, and highly selective PARP inhibitor which, like olaparib (Lynparza), seems to have potential value in the treatment of certain subtypes of advanced prostate cancer.

Niraparib is already in late-stage clinical trials for use in the treatment of BRCA-positive breast cancer and ovarian cancer, but it has not yet been tested in prostate cancer. Consequently, it will take Johnson & Johnson a while to develop and carry out the necessary trials to demonstrate whether nilaparib is effective and safe in the management of, for example, BRCA1/2-positive forms of advanced prostate cancer and other forms of late stage prostate cancer in which tumors lack the ability to repair tumor DNA.

For more information about this deal, see this media release on the Tesaro web site. It could well be 5 years before a drug like this gets into Phase III clinical trials, but things might move faster.

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