Rare Disease Report

New Research Collaboration Aims to Accelerate AML Therapy Research

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
Mathew Shanley
Less than a month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer’s Mylotarg (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), Daiichi Sankyo and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced a multi-year collaboration dedicated to accelerating the development of novel therapies to treat the rare cancer.

The new partnership will launch several phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials conducted by MD Anderson, and intends to focus on studies using both investigational compounds from the Daiichi Sankyo pipeline and multiple agents in combination regimens.

AML is a quickly-progressing cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and is characterized by the almost immediate growth of white blood cells. The expansion blocks the production of typical blood cells. It is the most common type of acute leukemia, and accounts of an estimated 33% of all leukemia cases. Survival rate for this uncommon condition is approximately 26%.

"At MD Anderson, we are dedicated to finding new solutions for cancer treatment. It is our hope this collaboration will provide opportunities to offer more effective options for treating our AML patients," said Hagop Kantarjian, MD, Chair of Leukemia at MD Anderson in a press release.

In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked MD Anderson first for cancer care.

At present, the studies plan to assess quizartinib, a FLT3 inhibitor in late-stage clinical development, and three agents in early-stage development: DS-3032, an MDM2 inhibitor; DS-3201, a dual EZH1/2 inhibitor; and PLX51107, a BET inhibitor. The evaluations will incorporate transitional work, including the investigation of new biomarkers in addition to pre-clinical studies of novel agents targeted at mechanisms of resistance to existing treatments.

"We are excited to enter into such a large scale partnership with one of the world's leading leukemia centers," said Antoine Yver, MD, MSc, Executive Vice President and Global Head, Oncology Research and Development, Daiichi Sankyo. "Given that AML is not a single disease, but a group of related diseases, it is important that we work to address it from a variety of angles. This illustrates the commitment of our AML Franchise to science and academic partnership. By joining forces with the talent and resources of MD Anderson, we aim to help improve the standard of care for patients with AML."

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