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XOMA Commences Gevokizumab Study

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XOMA Corporation (XOMA) recently announced the initiation of a pilot study to evaluate the use of the company’s lead pipeline candidate, gevokizumab, in patients suffering from acute inflammatory pyoderma gangrenosum (PG), a form of neutrophilic dermatoses.

XOMA intends to enroll up to 8 patients suffering from acute inflammatory PG for the study. Their disease is characterized by recently developed active ulcers and ulcer-related pain. The patients will be assessed on the 28th day of the study to gauge gevokizumab’s ability to control acute inflammatory symptoms of PG. Similary, XOMA intends to assess the patients on day 84 regarding the longer-term effect of the drug on skin ulcers.

XOMA has collaborated with privately-held French pharmaceutical company, Les Laboratoires Servier for the development of gevokizumab, an interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) modulating antibody. XOMA and partner Les Laboratoires Servier are evaluating the use of gevokizumab in a number of indications including non-infectious uveitis (:NIU) involving the intermediate and/or posterior portion of the eye and Behçet’s uveitis. The potential of the candidate to improve symptoms of pain, physical function and other abnormalities in patients suffering from erosive osteoarthritis of the hand is also being evaluated.
The candidate is being assessed for inflammatory acne in a phase II proof-of-concept study. In Jan 2013, preliminary top-line data from the study was reported following an interim analysis.

Preliminary results from the study showed that the 0.6mg/kg dose of gevokizumab demonstrated a significant reduction of 19 in mean inflammatory lesion count compared to a reduction of 13 in patients under the placebo group on day 42. The difference was maintained throughout the study.

At day 84, the 0.6mg/kg dose group demonstrated a clinical and statistical improvement in Investigator Global Assessment (IGA), representing a 31% responder rate compared to a 5% responder rate in the placebo group. On the other hand, patients treated with 0.2mg/kg dosage of the candidate did not show any clinical or statistical difference compared to placebo in inflammatory lesion count or in IGA.

XOMA carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies that currently look attractive include Santarus, Inc. (SNTS), Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) and Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP). All the three carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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