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Bristol-Myers blood cancer drug meets main goal in midstage trial

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said a combination of its drug Empliciti met its main goal in a phase 2 study for treating certain patients with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

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Under the Eloquent-3 trial, adding Empliciti to Celgene Corp.'s Pomalyst and low-dose dexamethasone significantly extended the lives of multiple myeloma patients while keeping their disease at bay — a metric known as progression-free survival — compared to patients who were treated with Pomalyst and dexamethasone alone.

Patients under the study had multiple myeloma that either came back or did not respond to therapy. The patients also received two prior therapies, including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor.

Patients receiving the Empliciti combination had a 46% reduction in the risk of their disease progressing compared to those who were treated with Pomalyst, or pomalidomide, and dexamethasone alone. Median progression-free survival for those treated with the Empliciti combination was 10.3 months, compared to 4.7 months for the other patient group.

Meanwhile, 53% of patients receiving the Empliciti combination had a reduction in their cancers, compared to 26% of patients who received pomalidomide and dexamethasone.