ORLANDO, Fla., May 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- GlaxoSmithKline [NYSE: GSK] and Genmab A/S [OMX: GEN] today announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) voted 10 to three that the ARZERRA(TM) (ofatumumab) data are reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) whose disease is refractory to fludarabine and alemtuzumab. Ofatumumab is an investigational treatment.
"The committee's positive vote in support of ofatumumab is a potential milestone for patients with CLL. While current initial treatments for CLL can provide prolonged remissions, some patients will progress rapidly and relapse, which highlights the need for new therapies," said Debasish Roychowdhury, M.D., Senior Vice President and Head, Medicines Development, GlaxoSmithKline Oncology. "We look forward to working with the FDA towards an approval for ofatumumab."
CLL is the most common form of adult leukemia in the Western world, and the treatment of patients with relapsed disease remains a significant challenge. Patients who have not responded to current standard therapies, or whose disease has returned following prior treatments, typically experience poorer clinical outcomes such as infections and death. Less than 25 percent of CLL patients who are resistant to current treatments respond to available therapies.
"The positive vote by ODAC confirms that ofatumumab may offer a new treatment option for patients who have received prior therapies with this type of CLL," said Lisa N. Drakeman, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Genmab. "Today's vote is positive affirmation for this medicine, which is a result of years of dedicated research and collaboration between Genmab and GSK."
The advisory committee made its decision based on an interim analysis of a pivotal trial that was presented at the American Society of Hematology 2008 annual meeting and will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2009 annual meeting.
CLL is the most common adult leukemia and one of the most common malignant lymphoid diseases. In the United States, about 90,000 people are living with CLL, with approximately 15,000 estimated new cases being diagnosed in 2009. Based on 2007 worldwide estimates, leukemia (all types) accounted for more than 330,000 new cases and more than 245,000 deaths.
CLL cells are malignant B-cells that have a low concentration of CD20 molecules on their surface. B-cells normally protect the body from invading pathogens by developing into plasma cells, which make antibodies. These antibodies directly inactivate pathogens or attach to pathogens to prepare them for destruction by other white blood cells.
Ofatumumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody that targets a membrane-proximal (close to the cell surface), small loop epitope (a portion of a molecule to which an antibody binds) on the CD20 molecule on B-cells. Ofatumumab also binds to the large loop of the CD20 molecule. The CD20 molecule is a key target in CLL therapy because it is highly expressed in most B-cell malignancies.
Ofatumumab is being developed under a collaboration between Genmab and the GSK Oncology and BioPharm R&D Units.
Ofatumumab is not yet approved in any country.
About GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better, and live longer. For company information, visit GlaxoSmithKline at www.gsk.com.
GSK Oncology is dedicated to producing innovations in cancer that will make profound differences in the lives of patients. Through GSK's revolutionary 'bench to bedside' approach, we are transforming the way treatments are discovered and developed, resulting in one of the most robust pipelines in the oncology sector. Our worldwide research in oncology includes collaborations with more than 160 cancer centers. GSK is closing in on cancer from all sides with a new generation of patient-focused cancer treatments in prevention, supportive care, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies.
GSK's BioPharm R&D division has a rich early pipeline based on cutting edge molecular biology and genetic technology and a mature late-stage portfolio that will provide important medicines to oncology.
About Genmab A/S
Genmab is a leading international biotechnology company focused on developing fully human antibody therapeutics for the potential treatment of cancer. Genmab's world class discovery, development, and manufacturing teams are using cutting-edge technology to create and develop products to address unmet medical needs. Our primary goal is to improve the lives of patients who are in urgent need of new treatment options. For more information on Genmab's products and technology, visit www.genmab.com.
Note to Editors:
ARZERRA(TM) is the proposed registered trademark to be used in the United States and Europe.
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Forward looking statement for Genmab
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