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Thinking through Velcade/Revlimid

Investors were quick to pass judgment on Phase III data for Velcade bortezomib and Revlimid lenalidomide for first-line treatment of multiple myeloma that emerged from last week's American Society of Hematology meeting, giving Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. an early week boost and Celgene Corp. a haircut. The consensus is that the Velcade results were impressive, and the Revlimid data were confusing, but doctors who spoke to BioCentury believe that both drugs will continue to be used and ultimately be combined for the indication.

With both CELG's Revlimid and MLNM's Velcade having become established agents for use in the relapsed/refractory MM setting, investors have turned their attention to the drugs' potential for growth in the front-line setting. The problem was sifting through the Phase III data from five trials, including two for Revlimid and three for Velcade, which used a variety of treatment regimens and patient populations. In addition, the data were at varying degrees of maturity.

All in all, the result was to make instant head-to-head comparisons difficult (see "Revlimid vs. Velcade," A12).

Indeed, as these agents have gained traction in MM,

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