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Johnson & Johnson's Oncology Team Posts Promising Cancer Trial Results

By Cory Renauer – Updated May 21, 2020 at 4:15PM

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A double-sided antibody with blockbuster potential shrank tumors for relapsed multiple myeloma patients who have run out of treatment options.

On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -1.10%) released positive results from a human proof-of-concept trial with relapsed multiple myeloma patients and teclistamab, the bispecific antibody formerly known as JNJ-7957. At the American Society of Clinical Oncology's conference, which was held virtually, J&J presented interim results that strongly suggest teclistamab can make a significant difference for patients who have relapsed after receiving between two and 14 lines of treatment.

Bringing the fight to multiple myeloma 

Today's cancer therapies are limited to single targets, but this early clinical-stage candidate targets both B-cell maturation agents (BCMA) often found on cancerous cells and CD3 found on T-cells at the same time.

Healthcare provider and an elderly patient in pajamas.

Image source: Getty Images.

As of Jan. 31, 66 patients had been treated with a wide range of teclistamab dosages. While there wasn't much activity in the lower dose cohorts, eight out of 12 patients responded to the strongest dosage being evaluated. Among the responders in the high dose cohort, two tested negative for signs of minimal residual disease more than a year after the beginning of the trial.

Next steps

Each time a multiple myeloma patient relapses or fails to respond to a line of treatment, their chances of responding to the next one diminish significantly. Among 66 patients treated with ranging doses, 36% experienced side effects severe enough to warrant hospitalization. This isn't a terrific safety profile, but it will probably be more than acceptable if more patients treated with a high dosage of teclistamab show impressive responses.

Based on the strong early results for teclistamab, Johnson & Johnson will expand the study to include more patients treated with high dosages of the drug candidate. 

Cory Renauer owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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