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MorphoSys medicines help reduce blood cancers in 2 studies

Two experimental MorphoSys AG therapies showed early effectiveness against two different blood cancers, the Munich-based drugmaker said in presentations during the European Hematology Association's annual meeting.

In an ongoing phase 1/2a trial for multiple myeloma using experimental medicine MOR202, 65% of patients given a combination of the drug with Celgene Corp.'s Revlimid and a low-dose steroid responded, while 48% of patients given MOR202, Celgene's Pomalyst and steroids responded.

Two patients given MOR202 and Revlimid had complete responses, or no sign of the plasma cancer, while 10 patients saw their cancer reduced, including three "very good" responses, MorphoSys said in a statement.

There were also two complete responses in the MOR202 and Pomalyst arm, and eight patients with reduced cancer including four "very good" responses.

There were 56 patients enrolled in the trial and 16 remaining in the study at the data cut-off date. MorphoSys noted that 11% of patients had infusion-related reactions, but the majority of patients remaining at the cut-off date saw infusion times reduced from two hours to a half hour over the course of their study.

Of the serious reactions in the study, 52% of patients experienced neutropenia, while 48% had lymphopenia and 39% experienced leukopenia, all versions of white blood cell depletion that can lead to infection. There were no unexpected safety signals, MorphoSys said.

In a separate phase 2 study, also presented at the hematology meeting, 82% of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia responded to a combination of MorphoSys's experimental MOR208 and Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Zydelig.

One patient had no sign of the disease at the data cut-off date, while 18% saw their cancer stabilize and stop growing.

The trial, dubbed Cosmos, is still in its early stages and has another arm combining MOR208 with AbbVie Inc. and Roche Holding AG's Venclexta. MorphoSys expects data from that arm later this year, Chief Development Officer Malte Peters said in a statement.

The Cosmos study shows MOR208's potential for other cancers involving B cells, a type of immune cell, Peters added.