Seattle Genetics’ cancer drug outperforms traditional treatment

BOTHELL — Another week, another major announcement from Seattle Genetics.

The Bothell biotech firm said Monday morning its drug Adcetris with a combination of chemotherapy drugs outperformed the traditional chemotherapy mix for treating Hodgkin lymphoma.

“The outcome of the (clinical trial) represents a significant milestone for the Hodgkin lymphoma community,” said Clay Siegall, president and CEO of Seattle Genetics, in a statement.

Seattle Genetics and its partner Takeda Pharmaceutical plan take the findings to regulatory authorities to argue that Adcetris should be part of the frontline treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma patients.

Now, Adcetris is used only after other treatments have failed.

The study, called Echelon-1, involved 1,334 patients who were randomly given a combination Adcetris with drug chemotherapy or a traditional chemotherapy drug treatment.

After two years, 82.1 percent of patients treated with Adcetris did not see their cancer progress compared with 77.2 percent treated with the traditional mix of chemotherapy drugs.

The news met with a tepid response on the stock market. Seattle Genetics, traded on the Nasdaq as SGEN, actually saw its share value decline in early trading on Monday.

Forbes wrote that the Adcetris study was welcome news, but also “not a blowout finding.”

Last week, Seattle Genetics announced that it was discontinuing a clinical trial for a drug to combat a acute myeloid leukemia in older patients after unblinded data showed a higher rate of deaths for people using the company’s drug compared to the control group.

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