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.

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.