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GlaxoSmithKline Hopes to Take on Rivals With Rare Blood Cancer Drug

December 18, 2019, 12:05 AM UTC

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British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is hoping to take on prominent rivals such as U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson with an experimental treatment for multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer.

GSK said that its multiple myeloma treatment belantamab mafodotin was effective in patients who had already received a half dozen (or even more) other therapies, suggesting it could be effective in those with the most stubborn forms of the disease. And the company is submitting it for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

“Patients with multiple myeloma whose disease has progressed despite currently available therapy have limited options and poor outcomes,” said GSK’s R&D chief Hal Barron in a statement.

The five-year survival rate (post-diagnosis) for multiple myeloma patients exceeds 50%; however, that number can drop off substantially depending on the severity of the disease and individual patients’ circumstances.

If approved, Glaxo’s drug will be facing up against earlier market entrants including Johnson & Johnson’s Darzalex. However, GSK’s treatment, a so-called “anti-B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)” therapy, has a significantly different action mechanism. And the company is banking on the hopes that it can go toe-to-toe with its rivals in earlier stages of the cancer.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

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