Why Investors Should Pay Attention to Seattle Genetics' Drug Trial

Published: Jul 22, 2016

Why Investors Should Pay Attention to Seattle Genetics' Drug Trial
With 70+ Ongoing Clinical Trials, Seattle Genetics Posts Positive Phase II Cancer Trial

July 21, 2016
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Seattle Genetics , headquartered in Bothell, Washington, along with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company in Osaka, Japan, announced final data this week from its Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) monotherapy Phase II clinical trial. The drug was being evaluated in patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma and showed very positive results, with a median overall survival and progression-free survival rate of 40.5 months and 9.3 months, respectively.

“The positive final results from this trial of Adcetris demonstrated that of the patients who had a complete response, 38 percent achieved long-term disease control for the duration of the study,” said Dirk Huebner, executive medical director, Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit, Takeda, in a statement. “In addition, the median overall survival of 40.5 months and progression-free survival of 9.3 months observed across the trial further establish the role of Adcetris in improving outcomes for patients with relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma.”

Adcetris is being evaluated in more than 70 ongoing clinical trials. As an intravenous injection, it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of classical Hodgkin lymphoma after failure of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, for the treatment of classical Hodgkin lymphoma patients at high risk of relapse or progression, and accelerated approval in patients with systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (sALCL) after failure of at least one prior multi-agent chemotherapy regimen.

It also received conditional marketing authorization in 2012 by the European Commission for treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory CD30-positive Hodgkin lymphoma following autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) and in patients with relapsed or refractory sALCL.

Writing for Puget Sound Business Journal, Rachel Nielsen notes that of particular interest is the company’s Echelon-1 clinical trial, which is evaluating the drug as a first line treatment for advanced classical Hodgkin lymphoma. The difference is that the drug is generally being evaluated as a last resort for patients not responding to other medications. She writes, “If successful with previously untreated Hodgkin lymphoma, the trial could lead to expanded use of Adcetris and enormous new revenue streams for the Bothell-based company.”

And the company’s chief executive officer, Clay Siegall, admits it, saying in an interview that of the 70-plus clinical trials ongoing, the Echelon-1 trial is the company’s “single most important trial.”

The Echelon-1 trial has enrolled more than 1,300 patients around the world and results are expected in 2017 at the earliest.

The company has been on something of a roll. It announced recently that it was adding 100 jobs in the U.S. and about 20 in Switzerland. The jobs will primarily be in operations, as opposed to research. This is a trend for the company. Siegall indicates that the company has hired approximately 100 people each year for the last five years.

Seattle Genetics is on an upswing. Shares traded on Sept. 15, 2015 for $48.75, dropped to $26.87 on Feb. 10, 2016, and is currently trading for $44.14.

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