Celgene's Pomalyst Data at European Hematology Association Shows Promise - Analyst Blog


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Celgene Corporation ( CELG ) had a strong oncology product portfolio led by Revlimid and Abraxane. The portfolio was further strengthened in Feb 2013 with the FDA approval of Pomalyst in combination with low-dose dexamethasone for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (MM) patients who have received at least two prior therapies (including Revlimid and Velcade). The EU approval of the drug (trade name: Imnovid) was subsequently gained in Aug 2013.

Celgene, like many other companies, has showcased data on its oncology candidates/drugs at the annual meeting of the European Hematology Association (EHA). Last week, Celgene presented data from a retrospective analysis of a phase III study (MM-003) on Pomalyst/ Imnovid in the MM indication. The primary data from the study was reported earlier.

Celgene stated in its press release that due to the evaluation of the final progressive free survival analysis by the Independent Data Monitoring Committee, more than half the patients treated with high-dose dexamethasone during the study crossed over to receive Pomalyst plus low-dose dexamethasone. The retrospective analysis aimed at estimating the difference in overall survival between the two arms of the study after adjusting for those patients who crossed over.

After adjusting for the cross over, data from the retrospective analysis revealed an overall survival of 12.7 months for the combination of low-dose dexamethasone and Pomalyst as against 5.7 months for the combination of high-dose dexamethasone and Pomalyst. We expect Pomalyst/ Imnovid, which recorded sales of $136 million in the first quarter of 2014, to perform well and drive growth at Celgene going forward.

At EHA, Celgene and partner Acceleron Pharma ( XLRN ) also presented encouraging interim data from two studies in patients with beta-thalassemia. The first study evaluated sotatercept in transfusion-dependent and non-transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia patients. The second study evaluated another pipeline candidate ACE-536 in the above patient population.

Celgene, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ( REGN ) and Gilead Sciences ( GILD ). Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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