Celgene drug could triple sales on new study


Celegene could get a big boost from new data set to be reported next week. Revlimid, its best-selling multiple myeloma pill, could emerge as a first-line treatment rather than Johnson & Johnson's IV drug Velcade. Right now, Revlimid is typically used as a second-line treatment for patients who don't respond to other meds.

Preliminary info from a study of Revlimid as a first-line treatment--dubbed MM-015--indicated that the drug might help patients live longer, Bloomberg reports. Plus, the research appeared to show that Revlimid's action bested Velcade's results in a similar trial. Cancer experts say that if the MM-015 study pans out in Revlimid's favor, it could change the standard of care.

Analysts are already counting the change--or in this case, the billions of dollars. Mike King of Merriman Curhan Ford told Bloomberg that broader use of Revlimid could boost sales to $4.4 billion by 2016, up from $1.3 billion in 2008. And another analyst, Mark Schoenebaum of Deutsche Bank, said that the better the data from MM-015, "the more market share Revlimid gains." Even if Revlimid just ties with Velcade in terms of efficacy, it's a win for Celgene, some say, because, as a pill, Revlimid is easier for patients to take.

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We'll have to wait and see how the data comes in, of course. It's scheduled for presentation at the American Society of Hematology meeting that begins Dec. 5.



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