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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Analyst Report) and partner AbbVie Inc. (ABBV - Analyst Report) recently presented data on their oncology candidate, elotuzumab, from a phase II study. Results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Hematology Association held in Sweden.

The randomized, open-label study evaluated the candidate, combined with a low-dose dexamethasone and Celgene Corporation’s (CELG - Analyst Report) Revlimid (lenalidomide), in treatment-experienced multiple myeloma (MM) patients at two doses- 10 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg.

Data from the study revealed that the median progression-free survival (PFS: the time without disease worsening or death) was 33 months after 20.8 months of follow up in the 10 mg/kg arm. Moreover, the objective response rate (ORR) was observed to be 92% in the 10 mg/kg arm. The median PFS and ORR were found to be 18 months (after 17.1 months of follow up) and 76%, respectively, for patients treated with the 20 mg/kg dosage of elotuzumab. The safety profile of the candidate was found to be consistent with those revealed by the earlier studies.

Apart from the above phase II study, Bristol-Myers/AbbVie are also evaluating elotuzumab in other studies. The combination of elotuzumab (10 mg/kg), Revlimid and low-dose dexamethasone is being evaluated in two phase III studies (ELOQUENT-1 and ELOQUENT-2). Moreover, a combination of Velcade (bortezomib) and dexamethasone with or without elotuzumab is also being evaluated in a phase II study in patients suffering from relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.

Successful development and subsequent commercialization of elotuzumab would boost the top lines of both companies since the MM market offers significant commercial potential.

AbbVie as well as Bristol-Myers currently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies such as Santarus, Inc. currently look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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