BioLineRx (BLRX) Announces Presentation of Positive BL-8040 Phase 2a Data in AML

September 8, 2016 7:01 AM EDT

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BioLineRx Ltd. (Nasdaq: BLRX) announced that the successful final results of BL-8040's Phase 2a clinical trial in relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (r/r AML) were presented yesterday evening at the 4th Annual Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO), being held September 7-10, 2016, in Houston, Texas.

BL-8040, BioLineRx's lead oncology platform, is a short cyclic peptide that functions as a high-affinity antagonist for CXCR4, a chemokine receptor that is directly involved in tumor progression, angiogenesis, metastasis and cell survival. The Phase 2a study assessed the efficacy of BL-8040, as a single agent and in combination with Cytarabine (Ara-C), for the treatment of r/r AML. The reported data set includes 45 patients. The majority of patients in the study were heavily pretreated, with 45% of patients being refractory to one or two remission induction treatments, 19% of patients having relapsed after a short first remission of less than 12 months, and 17% of patients having undergone two or more relapses. In addition, the treated patient population included patients that had relapsed post allogeneic stem-cell transplantation (17%), as well as secondary AML patients (24%), both conditions which represent difficult-to-treat populations with poor prognoses.

Results show that treatment with BL-8040 in combination with Ara-C was safe and well tolerated at all doses tested up to and including the highest dose level of 2.0 mg/kg. Response to treatment was associated with efficient CXCR4 inhibition, resulting in high mobilization of blasts and induction of their differentiation. The composite complete remission rate, including both complete remission (CR) and complete remission with incomplete blood count recovery (CRi), was 38% in subjects receiving up to two cycles of BL-8040 treatment at doses of 1 mg/kg and higher (n=39). In the 1.5 mg/kg dose selected for the expansion phase of the study (n=22), the composite complete remission rate was 41%. These response rates are superior to the historical response rate of approximately 20% reported for high-risk AML patients treated with Ara-C alone.

In addition, the ongoing follow-up of patients participating in the study's expansion phase and responding to the combination treatment suggests long durability of the remissions achieved, with two-thirds of these patients still alive, based on a follow-up period to date of up to 12 months.

Philip Serlin, Chief Financial and Operating Officer of BioLineRx, commented, "The results from this study clearly confirm the anti-leukemic activity of BL-8040 and reinforce our interest in the AML space. The data demonstrate that sustained inhibition of the CXCR4-CXCL12 axis with BL-8040 is safe and well tolerated, and when given in combination with Ara-C, improves the response rate historically achieved with Ara-C alone. In addition, treatment with BL-8040 as a single agent rapidly and efficiently induces mobilization, differentiation and cell death of AML cells. This selective effect on chemotherapy-resistant cells may be translated into reduction of residual disease, thus pointing to incorporation of BL-8040 into earlier AML treatment lines."

"As previously reported, we are currently in the midst of a large, randomized, controlled, Phase 2b study in the AML consolidation treatment line. In light of the data seen in the Phase 2a study, we have been allocating additional resources to this Phase 2b study. In this regard, we have recently engaged an additional AML research group to participate in the study, and last month we met with regulatory authorities to discuss the development pathway towards registration for this treatment line. In addition, yesterday we announced a significant new cancer immunotherapy collaboration with Genentech, which includes, among other studies, a Phase 1b study in the AML maintenance treatment line. This new study emphasizes our commitment to further develop BL-8040 as a treatment for AML and validates the anti-leukemic effect of BL-8040 seen in the Phase 2a study," concluded Mr. Serlin.

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