FDA approves Celgene drug for blood cancer

FDA approves Celgene's Pomalyst for hard-to-treat form of blood cancer

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it approved a new drug from Celgene for patients with hard-to-treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood.

The agency approved the pill Pomalyst for cases of the disease that have spread even after treatment with two other cancer drugs.

Multiple myeloma mainly affects older adults and kills about 10,700 people annually, according to the National Cancer Institute.

FDA noted that Pomalyst is the second drug approved for multiple myeloma in the past year. The agency approved Kyprolis from Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. in July 2012.

"Treatment for multiple myeloma is tailored to meet individual patient's needs, and today's approval provides an additional treatment option for patients who have not responded to other drugs," said Dr. Richard Pazdur, FDA's office director for cancer drugs, in a statement.

Pomalyst carries a boxed warning, the most serious type, alerting patients and doctors that the drug can cause severe birth defects in pregnant women and can cause blood clots.

Shares of Celgene Corp., based in Summit, N.J., rose $2.29, or 2.4 percent, to $100.13. The stock added 17 cents to $100.30 in after-hours trading.