December 4, 2016

The Street

Acceleron, Celgene Seek to Replace Entrenched Anti-Anemia Drugs in MDS Treatment

While a phase III study progresses, Acceleron is searching for different populations of MDS patients where luspatercept might also be effective.

Acceleron Pharma (XLRN) and Celgene (CELG) are enrolling patients with low-risk myelodysplastic syndrome into a phase III study to determine if an experimental medicine, luspatercept, can increase the production of red blood cells so that transfusions are no longer needed.

 

While the phase III study progresses, Acceleron is searching for different populations of MDS patients where luspatercept might also be effective.

On Sunday, the company reported promising but early data from one such group of low-risk MDS patients: Those who not been treated previously with anti-anemia drugs like Amgen's (AMGN) Epogen or Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Procrit.

Following treatment with luspatercept, hemoglobin levels in these patients increased enough to obviate the need for red blood cell transfusions.

Acceleron estimates Amgen and J&J sell approximately $600 million of their anti-anemia drugs in the U.S. targeted at treating this specific group of MDS patients. These patients are not included in the ongoing luspatercept phase III study enrolling MDS patients who no longer respond to anti-anemia drugs.