Following a positive interim Phase I readout, AbbVie is exercising an option to acquire TeneoOne and its BCMA candidate TNB-383B for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.
AbbVie inked a deal with TeneoOne back in 2019 to develop and commercialize TNB-383B, a bispecific antibody that targets BCMA and CD3. The treatment is designed to direct the body’s immune system against BCMA-expressing tumor cells. And according to interim results, the candidate showed a 79% objective response rate in a Phase I study. Sixty-three percent of patients saw a “very good partial response” or better, and 29% saw a complete response at doses greater than or equal to 40 mg at a median follow-up of 6.1 months.
“While other BCMA and CD3 bispecific therapies require weekly administration, the recommended Phase 2 dose of TNB-383B will investigate infrequent dosing of every 3 weeks for intravenous administration, which is an important treatment factor for people living with multiple myeloma,” AbbVie’s vice chairman and president Michael Severino said in a statement.
At the interim analysis, 103 participants had been dosed with TNB-383B. The trial is being conducted in patients who have had at least three prior lines of treatment.
The results allowed the AbbVie team to “make this decision with confidence,” Severino said. — Nicole DeFeudis
Vertex launches $1.5B share buyback program
Vertex is preparing to spend some cash.
The biotech is launching a stock buyback program where it plans to repurchase up to $1.5 billion in shares, Vertex said in an SEC filing. The buybacks will take place “from time to time” until the end of 2022.
Thursday’s news comes as Vertex has seen mixed results among its gene therapy programs recently. The biotech stuck out in alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) after evidence of liver damage surfaced in a key Phase II trial, but announced positive results for their CRISPR Therapeutics-partnered program for genetic blood disorders.
That CRISPR collaboration recently saw renewed faith from Vertex in the wake of setbacks from rival bluebird bio, with the biotech paying $900 million to take control of the sickle cell disease program. Vertex is aiming to nab the first approved cure for sickle cell disease, but is facing skepticism from analysts. — Max Gelman