AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) has finally got a third phase win for its PARP inhibitor Veliparib after years of failure to make headway. The challenges began in 2016 when the company missed survival targets in the middle of a trial for veliparib in breast cancer in combination with chemo. The inhibitor failed to extend lives or delay time to cancer advancement significantly.

AbbVie scores a win for its PARP inhibitor

The company scored a win this weekend at the European Society of Medical Oncology. AbbVie got the third phase win with veliparib in combination with two chemo regimens with the combination managing to keep cancer from getting worse. The velia trial-tested veliparib in patients with late-stage fallopian tube, primary peritoneal, and epithelial ovarian cancers.

The trial studied the populations, which included two biomarker-identified groups as well as without the biomarker. In all the patient cohorts, the median progression-free survival was considerably higher for those who received the combination of single dose veliparib and carboplatin and paclitaxel relative those in the placebo cohort.

PFS for veliparib with chemo as well as a single agent cohort was 34.7 and 31.9 months respectively. The company published ovarian cancer on Saturday and Sunday released the VROCADE3 third phase test data. PFS for patients receiving the combination was 14.5 months relative to the 12.6 months for those in the placebo group. 

AbbVie hasn’t indicated when to file Veliparib

Although the study was successful, its global impact would be minimal. This is because of the study design that tested therapy sequence whose widespread adoption is unlikely. It also makes it challenging to put veliparib against established Parp inhibitors Zejuala and Lynparza.

With the Prima and Paola-1 studies affirming the two agent’s utility, it would be challenging for AbbVie to cut a niche for itself in this competitive market. This relies on the presumption that AbbVie will take the project further considering they have not confirmed if or when they will file veliparib. This is, however, under consideration with the sell-side ignoring the project mainly because of past late-stage flops as well as protracted development.