The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has approved Sanofi's (SNY 2.00%) new drug for patients with reoccurring multiple myeloma. Sarclisa (also known as isatuximab) is a treatment that promotes tumor cell death by targeting a specific protein type found on the surface of white blood cells.

The agency approved Sarclisa to be used as a drug combo alongside Bristol-Myers Squibb's Pomalyst (also known as pomalidomide) and a steroid medication known as dexamethasone. Adult patients who have had at least two previous treatments for multiple myeloma but have had the condition return are eligible for this treatment.

An FDA stamp beside two pill packets.

Image source: Getty Images.

"While there is no cure for multiple myeloma, Sarclisa is now another CD38-directed treatment option added to the list of FDA-approved treatments of patients with multiple myeloma who have progressive disease after previous therapies," said Richard Pazdur, director of the Oncology Center of Excellence at the FDA. "In the clinical trial, there was a 40% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death with this therapy."

Further details

Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that forms within a specific type of white blood cell known as a plasma cell. These cancerous plasma cells end up accumulating in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. While there are treatments available to kill these myeloma cells, the chance of relapse is very high, with almost all cases of multiple myeloma leading to an eventual return of the disease.

Sanofi isn't the only pharmaceutical giant working on developing a multiple myeloma treatment. Johnson & Johnson recently submitted its own treatment, Darzalax, for FDA approval earlier in February.