Biotech and Pharma

U.S. FDA approves GlaxoSmithKline's blood cancer drug

Key Points
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved GlaxoSmithKline's experimental treatment for a common form of blood cancer.
  • Approval for belantamab mafodotin, a rival to Johnson & Johnson and Genmab's Darzalex treatment, is seen as important for GSK's growing oncology portfolio.
A scientist prepares stem cells for research at the GlaxoSmithKline research centre in Stevenage, Britain November 26, 2019.
Peter Nicholls | Reuters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved GlaxoSmithKline's experimental treatment for a common form of blood cancer.

GSK's belantamab mafodotin, or BLENREP, was approved for treating adults with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma who no longer respond to treatment with an immunomodulatory agent, the drugmaker said in a statement.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer in the U.S. and is generally considered treatable, but not curable.

A U.S. FDA panel had earlier raised safety concerns about the drug causing deposits to gather on the cornea in the eyes, but later voted in its favor saying the benefits of the treatment outweigh the risks.

Approval for belantamab mafodotin, a rival to Johnson & Johnson and Genmab's Darzalex treatment, is seen as important for GSK's growing oncology portfolio.

Last month, a panel of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also recommended approving the drug.