Don’t have to be No. 1 to thrive in cancer therapy

Celgene Chairman as well as CEO Mark Alles told CNBC on Monday the biotech company does not need to be the market leader to thrive with brand new cancer therapies to replace chemotherapy.

“The first thing in which investors as well as the medical community … [are] realizing is usually in which This specific class of medicine of CAR-T therapy — whether its lymphoma, leukemia or myeloma — will replace existing chemotherapy,” Alles said in a “Squawk Box” interview.

CAR-T cell therapy takes a patient’s own immune cells, called T cells — genetically manipulating them to attack specific proteins on cancer as well as infusing them back into the patient.

“There’s a lot of room for a lot of product to come in as well as actually do what these drugs are doing — high response rates, durable remissions as well as actually get away via chronic treatment,” Alles said.

Celgene is usually working on an experimental brand new gene therapy designed to treat people with relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The company on Sunday presented updated results on its treatment at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The data showed in which at six months, 49 percent of patients remained in remission, with 46 percent maintained a complete response.

Novartis as well as Gilead Sciences already received the first two approvals of CAR-T for additional types of cancer. For one-time treatments, they cost $475,000 as well as $373,000, respectively.

Alles on Monday said the market is usually “years away” via being saturated with CAR-T therapies, adding in which Celgene will continue to execute on its “rich” pipeline of drugs.

“There’s nothing like pipeline success to reverse sentiment,” he said.

Celgene loses patent protection by 2022 for Revlimid, its top-selling multiple myeloma drug in which brought in about 60 percent of fiscal third-quarter revenue of nearly $3.3 billion.

In January, Celgene agreed to buy rest of Juno Therapeutics the item didn’t already own for about $9 billion in cash to gain access to Juno’s pipeline of CAR-T cancer drugs. The deal closed in March.

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