Celgene Can't Shake Revlimid Critics
SAN DIEGO -- Institutional biotech investors crowded into a hotel room here Sunday night to hear Celgene (CELG) detail -- some would say defend -- the efficacy and safety of the company's experimental drug Revlimid.
In light of recent reports of excessive patient deaths, Dr. Alan List of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., defended Revlimid's safety Sunday evening at the American Society of Hematology conference. List cited statistics from medical literature that these patients would be expected to have a 10% annual death rate; therefore, the 9% death rate in the Revlimid study is reasonable, especially since he claimed only two patient deaths were tied to the drug.
"There is nothing out of the ordinary," List said, referring to the death rate in the study and the observed toxicities of the drug. List is the lead investigator in Celgene's phase II trial of Revlimid as a treatment for so-called 5 q minus, or low-risk, myelodysplastic syndrome study (MDS), a cancer-like bone marrow disease.
But such assurances of Revlimid's safety did not necessarily gibe with some of the other data presented Sunday, nor did they assuage critics who believe the company is glossing over Revlimid's safety problem and hiding the fact that more of the deaths in the study are being caused by the toxic effects of the drug."Celgene is not telling us the full story about Revlimid," said one hedge fund manager who is short the stock. "Nothing I heard tonight convinces me that the
Deaths AcknowledgedOn Nov. 17, TheStreet.com
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