AbbVie a global biopharmaceutical company, announced that it will acquire Stemcentrx and its lead late-stage asset rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T) currently in registrational trials for small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Rova-T is a novel biomarker-specific therapy that is derived from cancer stem cells and targets delta-like protein 3 (DLL3) that is expressed in more than 80 percent of SCLC patient tumors and is not present in healthy tissue. Registrational trials for third-line small cell lung cancer are expected to complete enrollment by the end of 2016.
Richard A. Gonzalez, chairman and chief executive officer said,AbbVie is committed to continued innovation in oncology, a critical component of our long-term growth and an area of significant need to millions of patients worldwide.The addition of Stemcentrx and its late-stage compound Rova-T provide AbbVie with a unique platform in solid tumor therapeutics and complement our leadership position in hematologic oncology. We believe the acquisition of Stemcentrx will strengthen and accelerate our ability to deliver innovative therapies that will have a remarkable impact on patients’ lives.
In Phase 1/2 studies of relapsed SCLC patients who have previously failed one or more standard therapies, Rova-T demonstrated overall response rates of 44 percent in the patients identified with high expression of DLL3. The expression of DLL3 suggests Rova-T also may be useful across multiple tumor types, including metastatic melanoma, glioblastoma multiforme, prostate, pancreatic and colorectal cancers, where DLL3 expression ranges from 50-80 percent. Rova-T combines a targeted antibody that delivers a cytotoxic agent directly to the DLL3-expressing cancer cells while minimizing toxicity to healthy cells.