Celgene’s $3.7 Billion Drug Hits Rough Patch

In a setback to expanding the market for its flagship drug, Celgene (CELG) has ended a Phase III trial of Revlimid, which was being tested in elderly patients with a type of blood cancer known as B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, because there were a larger number of deaths than among those given a rival treatment. The FDA called for an end to the study on July 12, according to a company statement.

The news caused Celgene shares to open lower.

CELG Chart

CELG data by YCharts

Specifically, there were 34 deaths out of 210 patients who were given Revlimid compared to 18 deaths out of 211 patients given Leukeran, which is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The study enrolled people who were 65 years or older, suffering from B-cell CLL and have comorbidities, such as diabetes, heart failure or renal impairment, that precluded aggressive, but standard chemotherapy treatment.

CELG Revenue TTM Chart

CELG Revenue TTM data by YCharts

Revlimid, which is approved as a treatment for multiple myeloma, a cancer in white blood cells that most often effects the elderly, generated more than $3.7 billion in sales and accounted for about 68% of companywide revenue last year. Although Revlimid is being tested for various additional indications, the news sent Celgene stock down as much as 4 percent at one point.

To read the remainder of this article, go to Pharmalot.

Ed Silverman, a contributing editor of YCharts, is the founder and editor of Pharmalot. He previously reported on the pharmaceutical industry and other business topics for the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, New York Newsday and Investor’s Business Daily. He can be reached at editor@ycharts.com. You can also request a demonstration of YCharts Platinum.

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