Geron Corp (GERN) Notes Janssen Imetelstat Trials Continuing

September 12, 2016 7:32 AM EDT
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Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN) today provided updates on the clinical trials being conducted by Janssen Research & Development, LLC, of the telomerase inhibitor imetelstat. Planned internal reviews of initial data from both trials have been completed by Janssen, and both trials are continuing in order to evaluate additional and more mature data.


IMbarkTM (NCT02426086) was originally designed as a Phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate two dose levels of imetelstat (either 4.7 mg/kg or 9.4 mg/kg administered every three weeks) in approximately 200 patients (approximately 100 patients per dosing arm) with Intermediate-2 or High risk myelofibrosis (MF) who have relapsed after or are refractory to prior treatment with a JAK inhibitor. The co-primary efficacy endpoints for the trial are spleen response rate and symptom response rate at 24 weeks. To date, over 90 patients have been enrolled in the trial across both dosing arms.

To inform an assessment of the appropriate dose and schedule for relapsed or refractory MF patients in IMbarkTM, Janssen conducted a planned internal interim review of safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetic data from 20 patients from each dosing arm who have been followed on the trial for at least 12 weeks. Based on this first internal review at the early 12-week time point, the following has been determined by Janssen:

  • The safety profile was consistent with previous imetelstat clinical trials in hematologic myeloid malignancies. No new safety signals were identified.
  • Activity in the 4.7 mg/kg dosing arm does not warrant further investigation of that dose and this arm will be closed to new patient enrollment. An amendment to the trial protocol is planned to allow eligible patients in this arm to increase their dose to 9.4 mg/kg per investigator discretion.
  • In the 9.4 mg/kg dosing arm, even though at the week 12 data assessment an insufficient number of patients met the protocol defined interim criteria, this arm warrants further investigation because encouraging trends in the efficacy data were observed. Patients already enrolled in this arm may continue to receive imetelstat. New enrollment in this arm will be suspended while the trial continues in order to obtain additional and more mature data that includes a longer follow-up of patients at 24 weeks, consistent with the co-primary efficacy endpoints. The number of patients enrolled to date is expected to be sufficient to inform potential future development of this dose.
  • Janssen plans to conduct an additional internal data review in the second quarter of 2017 to include a longer follow-up of patients at 24 weeks. Potential outcomes of the second internal review at the 24-week time point could include resuming enrollment in the 9.4 mg/kg dosing arm, with or without changes to the dosing regimen; adding a new dosing arm; or closing the trial.
  • Any protocol amendments will be subject to review by health authorities around the world.


IMergeTM (NCT02598661) is a Phase 2/3 clinical trial evaluating imetelstat in transfusion dependent patients with Low or Intermediate-1 risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) who have relapsed after or are refractory to prior treatment with an erythropoiesis stimulating agent (ESA). The clinical trial is in two parts: Part 1 is a Phase 2, open-label, single-arm design in approximately 30 patients and Part 2 is a Phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design in approximately 170 patients. The primary efficacy endpoint is the rate of red blood cell transfusion-independence lasting at least 8 weeks. Part 1 of the trial is fully enrolled.

Janssen has conducted an initial internal review of efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetic data from a subset of patients from Part 1 of IMergeTM and this review indicated that emerging safety and efficacy in IMergeTM is consistent with data reported from the pilot study conducted at Mayo Clinic in MDS patients. IMergeTM will continue unmodified at this time.

Further assessment of data from IMergeTM is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2017 to include longer follow-up of all patients enrolled in Part 1. A decision on whether to move forward to Part 2 of IMergeTM will be based on an assessment of the benefit/risk profile of imetelstat in these patients. If Janssen decides to move forward with Part 2, the Phase 3 clinical trial is expected to be open for patient enrollment in mid-2017.

Janssen expects to submit data from Part 1 of IMergeTM to be considered for presentation at a medical conference in the future.

Conference Call

At 8:00 a.m. EDT on September 12, 2016, Geron’s management will host a conference call to review outcomes from the internal data reviews of IMbarkTM and IMergeTM. Participants can access the conference call live via telephone by dialing 877-303-9139 (U.S.); 760-536-5195 (international). The passcode is 80522983. A live audio-only webcast is also available on the company’s website at under Events and at The audio webcast of the conference call will be available for replay approximately one hour following the live broadcast through October 13, 2016.

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