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In Brief This Week: PreludeDx, Johnson & Johnson, Syros, Magenta, Merck

NEW YORK – PreludeDx said this week that it has reached a deal with Medical Cost Containment Professionals to process out-of-network claims for PreludeDx's DCISionRT test, a risk assessment test for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ for predicting the potential benefit of radiation therapy. Patients of the more than 150,000 providers that are part of MCCP will now have access to the test. The technology underlying the DCISionRT test was licensed from the University of California, San Francisco. 

Johnson & Johnson this week reported $23.71 billion in worldwide Q4 2022 revenues, a 4 percent decrease from the prior year Q4 revenue of $24.80 billion. The company's Q4 revenue missed analysts' expectations of $23.89 billion. J&J's pharmaceutical business earned $13.16 billion in sales in Q4, compared to $14.22 billion in Q4 2021, a 7 percent decrease. Its oncology business grew 4 percent year over year, from $3.78 billion in Q4 2021 to $3.93 billion in Q4 2022. The firm's oncology portfolio includes several precision cancer treatments, such as the autologous CAR T-cell therapy for refractory multiple myeloma, Carvykti (ciltacabtagene autoleucel), and Balversa (erdafitinib), for FGFR2- or FGFR3-altered bladder cancer. The company did not report sales of these drugs. J&J's earnings per share in Q4 2022 was $1.33, compared to a Q4 2021 EPS of $1.77. In Q4, J&J spent $3.84 billion on R&D, a 19 percent decrease from the prior year R&D spend of $4.72 billion. The company's full-year revenue for 2022 was $94.94 billion, a 1 percent increase over 2021 revenue of $93.78 billion, but missing analysts' expectations of $95.02 billion. In 2022, J&J reported an EPS of $6.73, compared to an EPS of $7.81 in 2021. As of Dec. 31, J&J had $24 billion in cash and marketable securities. 

Syros Pharmaceuticals this week received fast-track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration for its retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARA) agonist tamibarotene for the treatment of higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome. The firm is currently studying tamibarotene in combination with azacitidine in newly diagnosed higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients with RARA overexpression in the ongoing Phase III SELECT MDS-1 trial. Syros expects to complete enrollment in that study in Q4 2023 and report pivotal data in Q3 2024. The firm is also studying the drug in newly diagnosed unfit acute myeloid leukemia patients with RARA overexpression. 

Magenta Therapeutics this week said that a patient in its ongoing Phase I/II trial of MGTA-117 died following respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, a grade 5 serious adverse event that may be related to the investigational drug. The company has reported the event to the US Food and Drug Administration and has voluntarily stopped giving patients the drug in the trial. Magenta is exploring MGTA-117's activity in patients with relapsed or refractory CD117-positive acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplasia-excess blasts. Patients must have immunohistochemistry or flow cytometry testing to confirm they have CD117-positive AML.

Merck said this week that its board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $.73 per share of the company's common stock for the second quarter of 2023, and that the payment will be made on April 10 to shareholders of record on March 15. 

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared in Precision Oncology News.