In a further sign of the times, Denmark’s Genmab is laying off over 10o workers and is cancelling the late-stage development of its investigational cancer
A portfolio review meant that HuMax-CD4 (zanolimumab),
which is currently in a Phase III study to treat cutaneous T-cell
lymphoma (CTCL), was abandoned.
recruitment into the zanolimumab study has been slow, possibly due to the relatively small market potential in CTCL, the
introduction of a new CTCL therapeutic to the market and numerous
competing clinical trials. The significant investment
required to take the product through to approval became more marginal. Genmab had regained the rights to zanolimumab
from Merck Serono in July 2007.
Early-stage research in colorectal and lung cancer with
HuMax-EGFr (zalutumumab) will also be wound down, based on recent information about the role of
KRAS mutations and appropriate therapeutic regimens. However, Genmab
will continue its development of two Phase III and two earlier-stage
studies with zalutumumab in head and neck cancer.
Genmab said it would aim to out-license three early-stage programs
that fall outside cancer – HuMax-HepC, HuMax-IL8 and HuMax-TAC.
Genmab still has a development program including six
ongoing Phase III studies competing for limited resources.
The future is dependent upon how well HuMax-CD20 (ofatumumab), the subject of
a major partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, which is being developed to
treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL),
diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and relapsing
remitting multiple sclerosis.
Data showing that
RA patients who participated in a Phase II study of ofatumumab achieved
long lasting results at the 48-week follow up period.