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Bluebird, Celgene myeloma med scores in early trial data

June 6, 2017

Bluebird Bio Inc. BLUE, +12.10% shares rose 7.4% in heavy morning trade Monday after the company released updated results from an ongoing early-stage clinical trial in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. Relapsed multiple myeloma refers to when the cancer returns after treatment, while refractory multiple myeloma means the cancer isn’t responding to treatment. The drug, bb2121, which is being jointly developed by Bluebird Bio and Celgene Corp. CELG, -1.00% had a 100% overall response rate in three of four groups of dosed patients, with the other group having an overall response rate of 33%. The 31 patients who were enrolled in the trial as of early May (the company plans to enroll up to 50 patients total) got several types of treatment prior to bb2121, with a median of 7 lines of prior therapy, with the range varying between three and 14 lines of therapy, the company said. None of the patients in the active dose groups saw the cancer progress, said Celgene’s Michael Pehl, president, hematology and oncology. “The consistency, depth and durability of these patients’ responses coupled with a manageable safety profile is very exciting, and we believe will provide hope for patients in this setting,” Pehl said. “The efficacy and safety profile of bb2121 continues to look very strong,” said Leerink analyst Michael Schmidt. “We believe these data position BLUE (and partner CELG [MP]) well among companies developing CAR-T products in multiple myeloma and provide additional validation for bb2121 and BLUE’s emerging CAR-T platform,” referring to CAR-T cell therapy, a type of cancer immunotherapy that uses a patient’s blood cells to fight cancer. Bluebird Bio shares have risen 7% to $91.45 over the last three months, compared with a 2.2% rise in the S&P 500 SPX, -0.20%

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