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

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