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Onconova Therapeutics Inc. CEO Ramesh Kumar noted that "the more direct RAS target approaches have so far not succeeded, although a lot of work is going on," and that's why his firm chose a different route with rigosertib in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

Wedbush Securities analyst Liana Moussatos called top-line results from two trials by Kala Pharmaceuticals Inc. "the best phase III dry eye data that I've seen," though not everyone seemed as enthusiastic about the outcomes with KPI-121 0.25 percent vs. placebo.

For phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) drug development, "the black eye came very much from the Gilead experience with Zydelig last year," acknowledged Verastem Inc. CEO Robert Forrester, but that bruise was healed by the "totality, consistency and magnitude" of phase III data offered by his firm with duvelisib in CLL at the ASH meeting in Atlanta.

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