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Pharmacyclics, Inc. (PCYC - Analyst Report) announced recently that data from a phase II study (n=111) on its cancer candidate ibrutinib was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The study is evaluating the safety and efficacy of the candidate (as a monotherapy) in patients suffering from relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Pharmacyclics stated in its press release that MCL, a form of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, generally affects older adults.

The MCL patients enrolled in the open-label, multicenter study were treated with 560mg of ibrutinib (once daily). They were divided into two groups. While one group of patients were previously treated with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited’s Velcade (bortezomib), the other group included those who had not undergone any such prior therapy.

Data from the study revealed an overall response rate (the primary endpoint of the study) of 68% across both groups. While the median overall survival for the study is yet to be reached, the median progression free survival was found to be 13.9 months. The candidate was also found to be well tolerated in the study. Moreover, data from another study on ibrutinib as a monotherapy in patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma was also published in the NEJM.

Pharmacyclics is co-developing ibrutinib with Janssen Biotech, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Analyst Report) company. We expect investor focus to remain on the development of ibrutinib.

Pharmacyclics, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Celgene Corporation (CELG - Analyst Report) appears to be more attractive in the biopharma space with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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