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Elotuzumab on track for multiple myeloma

BMS and AbbVie present phase II results at European Haematology Association meeting

AbbVie BMS logo

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and AbbVie have report encouraging phase II data on multiple myeloma candidate elotuzumab, including progression-free survival (PFS) of almost three years.

The data bodes well for the outcome of two ongoing phase III trials of elotuzumab as first- and second-line treatment (ELOQUENT 1 and ELOQUENT 2), which are due to generate results in 2014 and - if positive - will form the basis of marketing applications for the drug.

In the phase II study elotuzumab was given in combination with Celgene's market-leading Revlimid (lenalidomide) product and low-dose dexamethasone in the study, which enrolled multiple myeloma patients whose cancer had progressed despite prior treatment.

Patients on the combination achieved a PFS of 33 months, with an objective response rate of more than 90 per cent, according to data presented at the European Haematology Association annual meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. Multiple myeloma patients typically have a five-year survival rate from diagnosis of 41 per cent, according to BMS.

Despite the advent of Revlimid and other new treatments, "there remains a high unmet medical need for patients with multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer, as many may relapse and stop responding," according to Thierry Facon of the Hospital Claude Huriez in France, the study's lead investigator.

Elotuzumab has been highlighted as a strong pipeline prospect by both BMS and AbbVie in recent conferences, while analysts have suggested it could reach $300m-plus at peak.

The drug's prospects are somewhat linked to its use in combination with Revlimid, which is expected to dominate multiple myeloma therapy between now and 2021 alongside Takeda/Janssen-Cilag/Janssen's Velcade (bortezomib), according to Decision Resources.

Revlimid will be the biggest drug on the multiple myeloma category with $1.6bn in sales at peak and two third of the market, says the market research firm, with elotuzumab and other drugs such as Onyx/Ono's Kyprolis (carfilzomib) and Takeda/Millennium's MLN9708 each grabbing a share of the combination market.

Elotuzumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody that binds to a cell surface glycoprotein (CS1) that is thought to reside solely on multiple myeloma cells. The antibody provides cell-killing activity but specifically targets cancerous myeloma cells while sparing healthy bone marrow cells, according to the two companies.

18th June 2013

From: Research

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