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It took 13 years for Clay Siegall to find a partner willing to back his new drug, but his persistence has paid off.According to Nature News, Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) targets lymphoma cells without the scatter-shot approach used by chemotherapy eliminating the severe side-effects.
And the benefits are available to cancer patients immediately as the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval of the drug allowed doctors to begin prescribing the treatment this week.
The July FDA vote for the drug was unanimous after the drug company showed 94 per cent of of the 102 people with Hodgkin’s treated with Adcetris reported shrunken tumors while 73 per cent went into partial or total remission.
“This drug is wildly active,” panellist Mikkael Sekeres, an oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, told Nature after the vote.
This bodes well for the line-up of 25 other drugs of the same type currently in trial and awaiting approval.
Two highly promising candidates from that group so far are the breast-cancer therapy trastuzumab emtansine by Genentech and the lymphoma drug inotuzumab ozogamicin made by Pfizer.
Sales of Adcetris are expected to be hefty. Senior analyst at Needham & Company Mark Monane told Nature he expects the treatment to bring in up to $400 million a year in sales for Seattle Genetics.