(Corrects last paragraph to say Adcetris generated $266 million in sales last year, not $71 million)
By Divya Grover
June 26 (Reuters) - Seattle Genetics Inc and Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd said on Monday that their drug met the main goal in a late-stage study of helping blood cancer patients live longer without their condition worsening.
The study tested Adcetris in combination with a three-drug chemotherapy regimen, AVD, compared with standard of care, to treat advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1,334 patients who have had no prior treatments.
Adcetris is already approved in the United States to treat patients with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma, who have already received a stem cell transplant or two chemotherapy treatments. The drug is also approved to treat patients with anaplastic large cell lymphoma that have gone through one chemotherapy treatment.
The study, which tested the combination as an initial treatment, showed 82.1 percent lower risk of cancer progression in the combination therapy, compared with 77.2 percent in the control arm.
The standard-of-care chemotherapy, ABVD, combines adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine.
Doctors for long have been trying to get rid of bleomycin from the chemotherapy regimen to increase the long-term durable response rate and decrease toxicity, Seattle Genetics Chief Executive Clay Siegall told Reuters.
Seattle Genetics, which partnered with Takeda to co-develop and commercialize Adcetris outside the United States, retains marketing rights for the drug in the United States and Canada.
Adcetris, known chemically as brentuximab vedotin, links a tumor-targeting antibody to a cancer-killing chemotherapy drug with the goal of limiting side effects. It is designed to home in on an antigen, or a foreign substance, in Hodgkin’s lymphoma and in several types of T-cell lymphoma and other hematologic malignancies.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in white blood cells. It typically begins in the lymph nodes in one region of the body and then spreads throughout the lymph system.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 8,260 Americans were diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma so far in 2017, out of which about 1,070 died.
The U.S. drug developer said it would file for an expanded label as soon as possible.
The drug, which generated about $266 million in North America sales last year, is also being developed in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy, Opdivo, to treat relapsed Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)