Overseas Deaths in the Clinic come as a Blow to Boehringer Ingelheim

10/10/2016 - 2 minutes

Boehringer Ingelheim has swiftly dumped its olmutinib collaboration with Hanmi following news of deaths in South Korean Phase II trials.

An investigation by the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has linked several deaths to olmutinib, a lung cancer drug launched by Hanmi. Sound familiar? Boehringer Ingelheim just signed a deal to acquire the program for 616M last spring.

Despite the German giant’s celebratory press release touting the innovation and Korean approval of olmutinib (HM61713), 2 patients had already died at that point. The total eventually came to 8, but ‘only’ 3 were definitively linked to the treatment. Another 29 suffered “serious adverse events and adverse drug reactions”, according to the report.

Olmutinib is a non-small cell lung cancer drug, which accordingly aimed to treat about 90% of all lung cancers. Standard targeted therapies for this disease includes the inhibition of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), that helps cells to grow and divide. However, when treated with the inhibitor,

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