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BioLineRx Announces Positive Results from First Part of Phase 2 Trial in r/r AML

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BioLineRx Ltd. has announced positive results from the dose escalation part of BL-8040’s Phase 2 clinical trial in relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (r/r AML). The results will be presented at the 57th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, to be held December 5-8, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.

Results showed that BL-8040, as a single agent and in combination with Cytarabine (Ara-C), was safe and well tolerated at all doses tested up to and including the highest dose level of 1.5 mg/kg, with no major adverse events.

The composite complete remission rate, including both complete remission (CR) and complete remission with incomplete blood count recovery (CRi), was 38% in subjects receiving only one cycle of BL-8040 treatment at doses of 1 mg/kg and higher (n=16). Patients included in this part of the study were patients that had undergone a significant number of prior treatment cycles or that were refractory to induction treatment.

Treatment with BL-8040 had a triple effect on the leukemic cells. First, following only two days of monotherapy, BL-8040 triggered an average 40-fold mobilization of immature AML progenitor cells from the bone marrow to the peripheral blood, thereby sensitizing these cells to the Ara-C chemotherapy and improving its efficacy.

Second, BL-8040 showed a direct and significant apoptotic effect on the immature leukemia progenitor cells in the bone marrow following the two days of monotherapy. Last, BL-8040 induced leukemia progenitor cells towards differentiation, as evidenced by a 58% median decrease in the number of bone marrow leukemia progenitor cells, along with a three-fold increase in differentiated granulocytes, in the bone marrow biopsy conducted on Day 3 of the treatment cycle prior to the Ara-C treatment, as compared to the biopsy performed at baseline.

Dr. Jorge Cortes, Chief of the AML and CML Sections at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, stated, “The clinical results from the dose escalation stage of the Phase 2 study for BL-8040 in r/r AML are very encouraging and fully support continued development of the compound in the AML space.”

Dr. Kinneret Savitsky, CEO of BioLineRx, commented, “We are very pleased and encouraged by the positive results from the first part of this Phase 2 trial with BL-8040 for the treatment of r/r AML, especially in light of the severity of the patient population recruited and the short treatment regimen of one cycle. The results continue to demonstrate that BL-8040 not only significantly induces mobilization of leukemic cells from the protective microenvironment of the bone marrow into the peripheral blood, but also directly leads to apoptosis of leukemic progenitor cells and triggers terminal differentiation of the cells into granulocytes. Combined with the reported 38% remission rate from subjects receiving BL-8040 doses of at least 1 mg/kg, the results strongly suggest that BL-8040 has potent anti-leukemic activity and, in combination with Ara-C, may improve the response typically achieved in this advanced AML population.”

Dr. Savitsky continued, “In light of the encouraging results, we look forward to discussions with the regulatory authorities regarding the future development plan for AML. We currently anticipate reporting topline results from the full study by early next year.”

“In order to further expand and enhance the potential of this unique oncology platform, we are continuing to perform and plan multiple additional clinical studies for BL-8040. These include a Phase 2b study which we recently initiated for BL-8040 as an AML consolidation treatment; a Phase 2 study in the planning stages as a novel stem cell mobilization treatment, based on input that we received from the FDA last month; and two additional studies in certain bone marrow failure indications and for the treatment of AML patients with the FLT3-ITD mutation,” concluded Dr. Savitsky.