Treatment for relapsed multiple myeloma may be 'promising', study says

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. Drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Facet Biotech Corp. have gotten “potentially promising” data from a clinical trial of an investigational treatment for relapsed multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells.

The companies said the data for a phase 1/2 study of elotuzumab supported their plans for a phase 2 study. They plan to present results of the study at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in New Orleans Monday.

Patients received elotuzumab plus Celgene Corp.’s Revlimid (lenalidomide) and a low dose of the steroid dexamethasone. Of the 28 patients given treatment, 23 had a measurable response. In a subset analysis, of 22 patients who had not previously received treatment with Revlimid, 21 had an objective response. Two patients had serious allergic reactions from the elotuzumab and had to be removed from the study.

“The preliminary data presented today show that elotuzumab in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone may have potential as a treatment option for patients with multiple myeloma,” Facet Biotech president and CEO Faheem Hasnain said in a statement. “We are working closely with our partners at Bristol-Myers Squibb to finalize next steps for the elotuzumab development program and anticipate initiating a global phase 2 study in the first half of 2010.”