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Bristol-Myers' leukemia drug from Celgene increases survival in late-stage trial

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said its cancer drug CC-486 helped patients in remission from acute myeloid leukemia live longer and avoid disease relapse in a late-stage study.

Bristol-Myers, which picked up the drug in its acquisition of Celgene that closed in November, announced the full results at the American Society of Hematology's annual meeting Dec. 10.

Acute myeloid leukemia, which begins in bone marrow and moves quickly to the blood, is the most common type of acute leukemia, and it is estimated there are more than 60,000 people living with the disease in the U.S.

In the phase 3 trial, dubbed Quazar AML-001, patients over 55 years old whose disease had abated due to chemotherapy treatments lived a median of 10 months longer with CC-486 than those receiving a placebo.

Patients also lived longer on CC-486 without their disease returning than those taking a placebo.

Bristol-Myers is planning to submit CC-486, which is not approved in any country, to regulatory authorities in the first half of 2020.

The topline results for the Quazar trial, announced in September, were among strengths for Celgene in the third quarter of the year, and it is one of the pillars that Bristol-Myers hopes to build upon as the two companies merge.