On Thursday, shares of biotech company Bluebird Bio Inc. (BLUE - Free Report) are rallying, up over 17% in midday trading after positive results came in for its experimental anti-BCMA CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell product candidate bb2121 in an early stage study for relapsed refractory multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma is a kind of cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. When plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, they can produce a tumor called a plasmacytoma.These tumors usually develop in bone, but they are also rarely found in other tissues. Relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma is when myeloma is not responsive to therapy, or has returned after treatment or a period of remission.
Bluebird and its research partner, fellow biotech company Celgene Corp. (CELG - Free Report) , found that seven of the first nine evaluable patients positively responded to the drug. This study focused on researching the safety of bb2121 at different dosage levels. Bluebird and Celgene found that the patients who have yet to exhibit any type of response, including complete response, very good partial response, or partial response, only received the lowest does of bb2121, another positive sign.
The study won’t finish until December 2018, and it will be a while before bb2121 hits the market. It is also likely that the treatment study will face some obstacles going forward. Juno Therapeutics , a Seattle-based cancer drug developer, recently disclosed that two patients in a mid-stage trial of its own CAR-T drug had died, something Bluebird should look at seriously.
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