) recently presented additional data on its oncology candidate,
blinatumomab (AMG 103). The company presented results from a phase
II single-arm dose-ranging study which showed that 72% of patients
achieved a high rate of complete response (CR).
The study was conducted in adult patients with relapsed or
refractory B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The most
common adverse events observed in patients who received the
selected dose and schedule included pyrexia (70%), headache (39%),
tremor (30%) and fatigue (30%). Blinatumomab is a bi-specific
T-cell engagers (BiTE) antibody, a category of new agents.
Amgen also presented results from an exploratory biomarker
analysis evaluating MET expression as a predictor of clinical
response to rilotumumab (AMG 102). According to the analysis,
median overall survival (OS) improved (from 5.7 months to 11.1
months) in patients whose tumors exhibited high MET protein
In contrast, patients with low MET expression experienced a
trend towards unfavorable OS. The patients were suffering from
locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal cancer
and were treated with rilotumumab plus chemotherapy.
Amgen intends to conduct a phase III study to evaluate
rilotumumab in advanced gastric and gastroesophageal cancer
patients with high MET expression. Amgen has a collaboration
agreement with Dako for the development of a companion diagnostic
test that can be used with rilotumumab.
Full results on both blinatumomab and rilotumumab will be
presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Society of
Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Amgen will have a strong presence at ASCO this year. The company
intends to present results on 12 molecules from its oncology
portfolio. In addition to presenting data on blinatumomab and
rilotumumab, Amgen will present data on talimogene laherparepvec
(T-VEC), AMG 386 as well as denosumab among others.
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Amgen, which
carries a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating). Other companies
that will have a strong presence at ASCO 2012 include
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