Seattle Genetics CEO Clay Siegall in his company’s Bothell laboratory. A drug developed by his company has now gained approval to be used to treat a rare disfiguring blood cancer of the skin. (File photo)

Seattle Genetics CEO Clay Siegall in his company’s Bothell laboratory. A drug developed by his company has now gained approval to be used to treat a rare disfiguring blood cancer of the skin. (File photo)

FDA approves drug developed in Bothell to treat disfiguring blood cancer

Seattle Genetics’ drug Adcetris could be used in treatment of 2,000 a year afflicted with type of lymphoma.

BOTHELL — Seattle Genetics gained approval Thursday for its drug Adcetris to be used to treat a rare disfiguring blood cancer of the skin.

A study found that Adcetris showed far more positive results for test patients than the current drugs in use for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, said Seattle Genetics CEO Clay B. Siegall.

“It’s such a dramatic difference when we showed the data to doctors they were gasping,” Siegall said. “They were giving these other drugs to patients and they weren’t really helping.”

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma affects about 2,000 people a year in the U.S. People who have the cancer can have 30, 40 or 50 nodules — abnormal tissue — develop on their skin. There are limited treatment options and no known cure.

Adcetris has been used to treat 40,000 patients with Hodgkin lymphoma and other lymphomas since 2011. Seattle Genetics expects $600 million in global sales this year, Siegall said.

Adcetris targets lymphoma cells and delivers a payload to kill the cancer. The key is the drug is attracted to a protein called CD30 that manifests on lymphoma.

The study conducted on cutaneous T-cell lymphoma involved 131 patients — with half in a control group being treated by one of two existing drugs and the other half being treated with Adcetris. While it’s a small number of patients, the study was statistically meaningful, Siegall said.

The study showed that patients treated with existing medication showed positive results 12.5 percent of the time. Patients who received Adcetris saw positive results 56 percent of the time.

“It was four times the level of response,” Siegall said.

The study did not measure survival rates; that’s something that could be looked at in future studies. The study focused on primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma and CD30-expressing mycosis fungoides, the most common subtypes of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. That’s about 70 percent of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

The FDA approval is for second-line treatment, meaning that patients must first be treated with one of the existing drugs.

While the news is welcome for people afflicted with the cancer, Seattle Genetics is hoping to gain another FDA approval in the near future.

It has been put on the fast track to receive approval for Adcetris to be used as front-line treatment with chemotherapy for patients with advanced classical Hodgkin lymphoma. Right now, Adcetris is currently used as second- or third-line treatment when other drugs fail.

If that happens, Seattle Genetics’ signature drug could be used far more in treatments around the U.S. The FDA is evaluating the results of a study called Echelon-1 to determine if Adcetris can be used as a front-line treatment.

“When Wall Street looks at Seattle Genetics the biggest thing they look at is E1 trial for front-line Hodgkin lymphoma,” Siegall said.

Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; jdavis@heraldnet.com; @HBJnews.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Snohomish County manufacturers sew 27,000 masks for nurses

Two Mukilteo businesses, and others around the county, have shifted their focus to fight COVID-19.

During this outbreak, let’s be warriors

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s time for a renewed focus on making a difference.

Trump uses wartime act but GM, Ventec are already moving fast

The carmaker is working with the Bothell company to produce up to 10,000 ventilators per month.

Comments welcome on the proposed Lake Stevens Costco

The company’s permit to fill wetlands is under review. Public comment is open until April 12.

Trump stops deal for Bothell’s Ventec to produce ventilators

The project would have had the company producing more than 1,000 ventilators a month.

As Boeing shuts down, an employee’s family is left to grieve

To his family, Elton Washington is much more than a statistic in the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

Paine Field passenger volume plummets; flight changes likely

Despite a 68% drop, the passenger terminal’s owner expects to weather the coronavirus crisis.

Inslee signs the law repealing a Boeing tax break

The move, which the aerospace giant sought, aims to resolve an international trade dispute.

Inslee signs law allowing sharing of sales tax with tribes

It also helps end a legal fight over taxes involving the county, the state and the Tulalip Tribes.

Boeing plants here to close; infected Everett worker dies

To the relief of anxious employees, the company said it will shut down factory operations for two weeks.

Not everything is closed as businesses evolve to stay alive

Places are offering curbside pick-up and online orders and are banding together to draw wary customers.

Lawmakers: Protecting jobs is priority in any Boeing bailout

“The money has to be used for the continued operation of the company,” said Rep. Rick Larsen.