Clinical Adcetris has the potential to be a major player...

Adcetris has the potential to be a major player in lymphoma drug market according to Saegen and Takeda


For the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma, ABVD has been the standard for a decade and a half. ABVD is a combination of drugs. That standard is under threat due to promising trial data from Adcetris, a lymphoma drug developed by Seagen and Takeda.

A combination treatment that contained Adcetris outperformed the standard in the overall survival measure in a study conducted on untreated patients with stage III/IV Hodgkin lymphoma.

Patients that were treated with Adcetris saw a 41% reduced risk of death in comparison with the standard, a follow-up revealed. Adcetris had only 39 deaths in comparison to the standard’s 64, in a trial of 1,334 patients.

Chris Arendt (Ph.D.), Head of Oncology Cell Therapy and Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda, claims that the promising findings on Adcetris represent a groundbreaking improvement in care. He also said that advanced-stage patients have historically not shown improvement in overall survival outcomes, so the results are encouraging.

Stephen Ansell (M.D., Ph.D.), Echelon-1 study investigator said that the results are clearly pointing towards improvement in the long-term outcome and that the Adcetris should be considered a standard in this regard.

The difference in Adcetris combination, compared to standard, is only that it substitutes the antibiotic chemotherapy bleomycin. Vinblastine, doxorubicin and dacarbazine are not changed.

The drug won FDA approval for Hodgkin lymphoma four years ago when it met the primary endpoint of the trial, which was progression-free survival.

At the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago, Seagen and Takeda will be presenting the findings with their team. Following the conference, they will be presenting the findings at the European Hematology Association (AHA) meeting on the 10th of June in Vienna.

Adcetris’ performance in relapsed DLBCL (diffuse large B-cell lymphoma) will also be assessed at ASCO. Relapsed DLBCL patients or those patients who are not eligible for HSTC (hematopoietic stem cell transplant) or CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T cell) therapy usually have bad outcomes.

Triplet combination of Adcetris, Revlimid (Bristol Myers Squibb) and Rituxan (Roche) resulted in 57% shrunk tumor as shown by a phase 1 trial. It also showed a little over 10 months of patient survival without progression of the disease and over 14 months of overall survival.

Enrollment for the phase 3 Echelon-3 study is ongoing. Before enrollment began, a safety run-in was conducted. Results of the said safety run-in show a 70% tumor objective response rate, meaning it is active in R/R DLBCL.

Meanwhile, in phase 3 Echelon-3 study—enrollment which is underway—an open-label safety run-in was conducted prior to enrollment. The early findings suggest that the triplet is active in R/R DLBCL, evidenced by a 70% tumor objective response rate.

Ten patients were studied and four of them had a complete metabolic response. Six patients in the run-in had received CAR-T treatment before, of which four had a complete or partial response.

DLBCL treatment is a profitable opportunity. Peter Wellford, Jefferies analyst claimed that Roche’s Polivy posted exciting results in a DLCBL phase 3 trial and is eyeing sales of $2.4B, which contains a possible $2.1B from DLBCL.

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