GSK blood cancer drug Blenrep fails to beat rival treatments in tests

Blow for GSK boss as pharma giant’s blood cancer drug Blenrep fails to beat rival treatments in US tests

Setback: GSK chief executive Emma Walmsley

GSK will stop selling its blood cancer drug Blenrep in the United States in the latest in a series of setbacks for its oncology business.  In what will come as a disappointment for chief executive Emma Walmsley, the pharma giant said it has begun to withdraw the drug from the US. 

Blenrep failed the main goal of a key study designed to show it was better than an existing treatment on the market, stoking fears that regulatory approval could be rescinded by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

GSK said it will continue trial programmes for the drug, adding that some patients will have the option to enrol for continued access to the treatment. 

The company said access to Blenrep in other countries where it is marketed is unaffected, including across the European Union. 

GSK is still discussing the latest clinical data with EU health authorities, a spokesman said. 

Blenrep belongs to a category of treatments called antibody drug conjugates, which are engineered antibodies that bind to tumour cells and then release cell-killing chemicals. 

Oncology is a key area for GSK, but the company suffered another blow this month after it had to limit the use of its ovarian cancer drug Zejula in the US