NEC member Verastem Oncology’s first blood cancer treatment drug was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug is called Copiktra, and it is designed to block two types of enzymes that fuel the growth and survival of malignant white blood cells. It is approved to treat several types of blood cancers, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma.
Needham, MA-based Verastem originally licensed the drug (generically referred to as Duvelisib) from Cambridge biotech Infinity Pharmaceuticals in 2016. As the drug was originally disappointing in trials, the FDA’s approval is a big win for Verastem. Copiktra is the first drug that Verastem has brought to the market, and it is estimated that the new treatment could help some 350,000 patients in the U.S. who have various forms of leukemia and lymphoma.
The NEC applauds Verastem on this accomplishment and thanks them for their sustained commitment to developing cancer treatments.