Data from Gilead's latest drug shows promise

The company moves ahead on its leukemia treatment, after encouraging study results.

By Zacks.com May 16, 2013 5:18PM

Image: Pills (© Sean Justice/Corbis)By Zacks Equity Research

 

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) recently presented encouraging data on its pipeline candidate, the leukemia drug idelalisib (formerly GS-1101), from a phase II study. That study is evaluating idelalisib, combined with Roche Holding AG’s (RHHBY) Rituxan/MabThera (rituximab), in treatment-naïve patients (ages 65 and older) suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The second most common leukemia form in the US, CCL refers to a slow-growing cancer. It stimulates the production of multiple mature white blood cells.


The results stated the regimen achieved an overall response rate of 97%, with estimated progression-free survival of 93% at 24 months. Encouraged by the results of the phase II study, Gilead intends to evaluate idelalisib for the indication in phase III studies.


Gilead plans to present detailed results from the phase II study at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago at the end of the month.


The primary endpoint of the open-label, single-arm phase II study is the overall response rate. It refers to the proportion of patients achieving a complete or partial response with this regimen. As per the provisions of the trial, patients who complete 48 weeks of the combination therapy without the disease worsening could continue to receive idelalisib in an extension study.


Successful development and commercialization of idelalisib for the indication would boost Gilead’s top line -- since the CLL market offers significant commercial potential. Apart from CLL, idelalisib is also being evaluated in other oncology indications such as indolent non-hodgkin’s lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma.


Gilead carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The companies that look better-positioned include Osiris Therapeutics (OSIR) and Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CBST). Both are Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks.


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1Comment
Jun 5, 2013 11:42AM
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Well, it's good we live in a country where we have our freedom of choice intact.

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