Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Some news in the world of pharma companies in the last week that is probably relevant for Follicular Lymphoma patients:  AbbVie, Inc. has announced a partnership with Infinity Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercialize Duvelisib, a kinase inhibitor. CNN, plus a whole lot of other news outlets, have details on the deal, and who is going to make money if things go well, which is great, but I really don't care.

What I do care about is that someone thinks they can make money off of Duvelisib, which means they'll probably put some effort into eventually making it available to us.

Duvelisib is, as I said, a kinase inhibitor. Protein kinases are enzymes that are necessary for certain functions to happen to cells. Kinase inhibitors block those enzymes from doing their job, and thus they keep cells from doing things they aren't supposed to do.

Duvelisib is, specifically, a PI3K inhibitor, which means it blocks an enzyme that is necessary for a cancer cell to grow and survive. There are actually several different types of PI3K inhibitors, and they block different parts of the enzyme. And there are a bunch of different PI3K inhibitors already developed or in development, including Idelalisib, so we have a pretty good idea that this type of treatment, in general, will work. (In fact, maybe it is the recent excitement about Idelalisib that pushed these companies to make a deal?)

So far, Duvelisib has been studied in a couple of phase 1 clinical trials, and one phase 2 trial involving refractory indolent NHL patients (which, I assume, includes some Follicular Lymphoma patients). Lymphoma Hub has some basic information about Duvelisib, including information about these clinical trials, as does, under its alternate name IPI-145.

Wall Street is excited. That seems like a good reason to keep an eye on this one.

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