Millennium reports promising results for blood cancer drug
Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Cambridge today reported promising preliminary results from tests of a drug cocktail that includes the Velcade blood cancer drug it has co-developed with New Jersey drug maker Johnson & Johnson.
In a clinical trial, a combination of Velcade, melphalan, and prednisone was used to treat patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma who were ineligible for stem-cell transplantation.
According to the company, results of the trial included one of the highest reported complete remission rates and the highest three-year survival rate reported in a non-transplant setting.
Multiple myeloma is common hematological malignancy. In the United States, more than 55,000 people, many of them elderly, have the disease, and about 20,000 new cases are diagnosed per year.
Velcade, which some Wall Street analysts believe has the potential to be a blockbuster drug, has won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy.
In December, Millennium said it was asking the FDA to approve Velcade for treating patients with newly diagnosed cases of multiple myeloma.
Last month, Millennium said its fourth-quarter profit rose almost five-fold on revenue from Velcade, its only product, and lower expenses.
(By Chris Reidy, Globe staff)