Gilead’s Yescarta/Roche’s Tecentriq early DLBCL study data draws expert reservations on high neurotoxicity rates

11 Oct 2017

Gilead’s Yescarta/Roche’s Tecentriq early DLBCL study data draws expert reservations on high neurotoxicity rates

Gilead Sciences’ (NASDAQ:GILD) early ASH 2017 abstract data from the Phase I/II ZUMA-6 study of Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel)/Roche’s (VTX:ROG) Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) drew concerns from experts about high toxicity rates, albeit with the caveat of the data’s earliness and small patient numbers.

High rates of neurotoxicity and encephalopathy among the six patients led some experts to question whether the combination has a viable future, though others cautioned that in addition to the data being early in a very small patient population, clinical testing of the combination remains in the dose-finding stage.

Data from ZUMA-6 (NCT02926833) will be presented in a poster at the 2017 ASH meeting, which takes place 9-12 December in Atlanta, Georgia. An analyst commentary noted the data is early, adding that it supports the combination.

Yescarta, a CD19-targeting CAR-T cell therapy approved for DLBCL on 18 October, is projected by analysts to reach global sales exceeding USD 2bn, according to BioPharm Insight data.

Gilead announced 28 August it would acquire Kite Pharma, Yescarta’s developer, for USD 11.9bn.

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