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Triplet approvals for myeloma boost Celgene in Q2

Surge in approvals and pipeline as merger nears

Celgene

Celgene has reported higher-than-expected second-quarter revenues on the back of new triple therapy approvals for myeloma blockbusters Revlimid and Pomalyst.

Sales came in at $4.40bn, with Revlimid (lenalidomide) once again making the largest contribution with an 11% increase to $2.73bn that Celgene said was the result of increased adoption of triplet therapy which resulted in “increases in treatment duration and market share.” It was a similar story for Pomalyst/Imnovid (pomalidomide), up 22% to $619m, according to the company.

Revlimid gained on the back of its recent approval alongside Takeda’s Velcade (bortezomib) and dexamethasone as a first-line therapy for adults with multiple myeloma who are not eligible for transplant, with Pomalyst cleared with the same two drugs for second-line use.

Revlimid’s gains came despite the arrival the first lenalidomide generic in Europe from Alvogen, which was launched in February, although Celgene was able to fend off a patent challenge from Dr Reddy’s that reduce the risk of a generic entering the US market until 2022.

Analysts at William Blair said Celgene’s main products grew more than expected across the board, topping their predictions by around $180m in the quarter with Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) also performing particularly well with sales up 30% to $316m.

Abraxane is enjoying a sales surge thanks to its use in combination with cancer immunotherapies in indications like non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), according to Celgene.

Revlimid could get additional upside if it can claim approval in combination with Roche’s Rituxan (rituximab) for indolent lymphoma, with the results of the MAGNIFY trial due later this year, while Celgene could add to its portfolio with five new products in the coming months that could reduce its reliance on its cash-cow product.

CAR-T therapy liso-cel (lisocabtagene maraleucel) could get US approval shortly for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, while Bluebird Bio-partnered CAR-T bb2121 for myeloma could also get the nod in the US this year.

Also nearing the market are fedratinib for myelofibrosis which could be approved in September, luspatercept for myelodysplastic syndromes – with an FDA decision due next April – and ozanimod for multiple sclerosis, which has been delayed but could get a green light next year.

Otezla buoyant

Meanwhile, Celgene’s other big product – Otezla (apremilast) for psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and latterly Behçet’s disease – had another spectacular quarter with a 31% gain to $493m, just as Celgene has to find a buyer to settle antitrust concerns as it pushes through its $74bn merger with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The growth is putting the drug on course for $1.9bn in sales this year, according to William Blair, and should help justify what some believe could be a $5bn-$10bn price tag for the product. Gilead, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson have all been named as potential buyers.

The company reiterated the end-2019/early-2020 target date for completing the BMS deal.

Article by
Phil Taylor

31st July 2019

From: Sales

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