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Pharmacyclics Initiates Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Novel Oral Btk Inhibitor for Refractory B-cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Date:4/13/2009

SUNNYVALE, Calif., April 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pharmacyclics, Inc. (Nasdaq: PCYC) today announced that it has begun treating patients in a Phase 1 dose-escalation study to evaluate the safety and tolerability of PCI-32765, an orally available, selective inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase, or Btk, as a potential treatment for patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). This is the first Btk selective inhibitor to be tested in humans, and is Pharmacyclics' fourth product in clinical development.

Bruton's tyrosine kinase is the gene that is disrupted in the human disease X-linked agammaglobulenemia (XLA). Patients with XLA are devoid of mature B-lymphocytes and immunoglobulins in the bloodstream, but are otherwise healthy. XLA thus provides strong clinical rationale for development of a novel therapeutic drug targeting Btk for safe inhibition of B-cell mediated diseases. In preclinical studies, PCI-32765 has the remarkable ability to selectively inhibit human B-cell activation without effecting T cells. Strong preclinical validation of Btk as a target in lymphoma was generated using PCI-32765 in a mouse model of B-cell receptor-driven lymphoma and in spontaneous B-cell lymphoma in companion canines. These studies will be reported in presentations at the 2009 AACR annual meeting in Denver, Colorado (see below). Unlike anti-CD20 protein therapies, treatment with PCI-32765 in animal models is not myeloablative, which could result in prolonged and dangerous immunosuppression for the patient.

"This is a very selective compound for B-cells, and it could represent an important alternative to rituximab therapy for the treatment of B-cell NHL. Other obvious applications include autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and Pharmacyclics also has strong prec
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