Celegene's Revlimid is effective as a first-line therapy for multiple myeloma, according to data from a new study. The drug is already approved as a second-line treatment for patients who haven't responded to other therapies, and the new data could contribute to a major boost in the pill's sales if the FDA approves it to compete with Johnson & Johnson's Velcade to treat newly-diagnosed patients.
In the MM-015 study, Revlimid plus chemotherapy followed by Revlimid maintenance therapy had a 50 percent reduction in the risk of disease progression or death compared with chemotherapy alone. "The overall response rate for patients treated with Revlimid maintenance was 77 percent, including 17 percent complete responses compared to a 45 percent overall response rate and 5 percent complete responses for patients treated with chemotherapy alone," explains The Street. The study also explored whether a fixed, nine-month course of the drug and chemotherapy was effective. Results from that arm of the study weren't as impressive as the Revlimid and chemotherapy plus maintenance regiment. However, full data is not yet available from that arm of the trial.
Analysts estimate an approval for first-line multiple myeloma treatment could net the company an additional $500 million to $700 million in sales. Revlimid sales should reach $1.7 billion this year, and that number could climb above $3 billion by 2013 or 2014, according to The Street.