By Ludwig Burger and Pushkala Aripaka
(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline <GSK.L> said its experimental multiple myeloma treatment showed a meaningful response in patients that have run out of three previous treatment options, in a boost for the British drugmaker’s cancer drug business.
Two doses of belantamab mafodotin helped subdue the disease in adults who had received three prior treatments for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells, GSK said on Friday, adding that it intends to seek market approval and submit data from the trial to regulatory bodies this year.
GSK sold its approved oncology drugs to Novartis in 2014 but has staged a comeback bid in cancer with a deal to buy U.S. firm Tesaro <TSRO.O> for $5.1 billion last year and an agreement to pay up to 3.7 billion euros to Germany’s Merck KGaA <MRCG.DE> for the rights to a next-generation immunotherapy in February.
“We are on track to file belantamab mafodotin later this year and continue to investigate how it could help even more patients with this disease,” Chief Scientific Officer Hal Barron said.
Belantamab mafodotin targets a protein linked to multiple myeloma known as BCMA.
“This is yet another positive signal that GSK’s R&D engine is being turned around and should be well received by the market,” Liberum analyst Graham Doyle said.
GSK shares were up 1% at the open, outperforming a 0.2% gain in the STOXX Europe 600 Health Care <.SXDP> index.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Jane Merriman)