Roche and AbbVie move promising CLL drug towards finish line
- Roche and AbbVie are in late stage development of Venetoclax (formerly ABT-199) for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with a 17p deletion.
- The FDA granted Venetoclax breakthrough therapy designation, making it eligible for an expedited six-month review.
- AbbVie bought Pharmacyclics for $21 billion last year, gaining a 50% share in Imbruvica. Imbruvica is indicated for secondary treatment of CLL, CLL with a 17p designation, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM),, and secondary treatment of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
Patients suffering from CLL with a 17p deletion face a particularly challenging prognosis and usually only survive for two to three years after their diagnosis. In addition to this variant of CLL, the development team at Roche and AbbVie is also testing venetoclax for treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia, and multiple myeloma.
Having another drug in the armamentarium to treat a challenging form of CLL is important. Gaining drugs which attack the cancer via different pathways is key to treating cancers with varying types of molecular complexity. Venetoclax, which blocks the protein B-cell lymphoma-2, is designed to do just that