GSK’s blood cancer drug meets primary goal in late-stage trial

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GSK’s blood cancer drug meets primary goal in late-stage trial

Nov 27 (Reuters) – GSK (GSK.L) said on Monday that its blood cancer drug Blenrep had reached a key goal in a late-stage trial, as the British drugmaker looks to bolster its oncology business after a series of setbacks.

The drug, when combined with existing drug bortezomib plus steroid dexamethasone, significantly extended the time before the disease progressed, or the patients died, in those suffering from relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma – the third most common type of blood cancer which is considered difficult to treat.

Blenrep was pulled from U.S. markets last year, after it failed a separate late-stage study designed to show it was better than an existing treatment on the market.

In September, the EU’s drug regulator also recommended against renewing the conditional marketing authorisation for Blenrep, in a setback to the key oncology unit that GSK has been looking to strengthen.

Barclays analysts said expectations had been very low for Blenrep in remaining multiple myeloma trials but that the results from the study dubbed “DREAMM-7” were a slight positive. They added that “investors will want to see more data before adding sales back into models”.

The drug belongs to a promising category of treatments called antibody-drug conjugates, which are engineered antibodies that bind to tumour cells and then release cell-killing chemicals.

A “strong and clinically meaningful overall survival trend was also observed”, GSK added.

Overall survival is defined as the proportion of trial patients on the drug who were alive compared to those on a placebo. Progression free survival, the key goal that the study met, refers to the period of time that a person lives with the disease without it getting worse after treatment.

Blenrep, which was the second-largest contributor to GSK’s oncology business in 2022, has made about 30 million pounds ($37.38 million) in sales year-to-date.

($1 = 0.8025 pounds)

Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman and Sharon Singleton

Source: Reuters