BMS scores a topline treat as Reblozyl boosts blood transfusion independence in phase 3

Another key drug from Bristol Myers Squibb’s Celgene buyout might be on its way to an additional indication after an interim analysis showed the therapy boosted red blood cell transfusion independence in patients with a blood disorder during a phase 3 trial.

Reblozyl is currently approved for two anemia indications: patients with beta thalassemia who need regular blood transfusions, and those with certain types of myelodysplastic syndrome, including those who have failed an erythropoiesis stimulating agent, which is a therapy that tries to stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. The therapy is being tested in the late-stage Commands trial as a first-line treatment for patients with low to intermediate risk myelodysplastic syndromes who require red blood cell transfusions.

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of related blood disorders characterized by inefficient production of healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, leading to anemia and infections. 

The randomized study is evaluating Reblozyl against epoetin alfa to see if patients can become independent of red blood cell transfusions for 12 weeks and have an increase in hemoglobin. The study met this primary endpoint at the interim analysis conducted by an independent review committee, BMS announced in a Monday statement.

According to an analysist note from SVB Securities, the results suggest that the drug could address a larger population of myelodysplastic syndromes patients, including those earlier in treatment.

The next steps for the study include a “full evaluation” of the data by the company and a presentation of results at an upcoming medical meeting, plus discussions with health authorities.

Reblozyl is commercialized through a collaboration with Merck, which bought out previous partner Acceleron Pharma last November in a $11.5 billion deal.