AbbVie’s blood cancer combo therapy fails in late-stage study

Sept 29 (Reuters) – AbbVie (ABBV.N) said on Friday a late-stage study of its experimental combination therapy to treat a form of blood cancer failed to meaningfully increase the survival rate of patients without the disease worsening.

The combination of AbbVie’s Venclyxto and a steroid dexamethasone was being tested in patients with a type of relapsed multiple myeloma who had received two or more prior treatments.

AbbVie’s combination improved the median progression-free survival period to 9.9 months, compared with 5.8 months for a combination of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY.N) Pomalyst and dexamethasone, but the results were not statistically significant.

The company said 62% of patients treated with the combination therapy showed complete disappearance of tumors or reduction in tumor size, compared with 35% of patients treated with the Pomalyst-dexamethasone combination.

While the trial did not meet its primary endpoint, the company is planning to discuss the data with health authorities in the near future given the potentially favorable trends, Mariana Stirner, AbbVie’s head of oncology and hematology therapeutic areas, said in the company statement.

Multiple myeloma, the second-most common blood cancer in the world, starts in plasma cells in bone marrow and ultimately disrupts the production of normal blood cells.

Venclyxto, which is approved in the U.S. to treat two other types of blood cancer, brought in revenues of $2.01 billion in 2022.

It is jointly commercialized by AbbVie and Roche (ROG.S) unit Genentech in the U.S. and by AbbVie outside the country.

Reporting by Mariam Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

Source: Reuters