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XOMA Enrolls for Gevokizumab Trials

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XOMA Corporation (XOMA) recently announced that it has initiated patient enrollment in two trials being conducted with gevokizumab. The trials will evaluate gevokizumab's capability to treat interleukin-1 beta-mediated inflammatory diseases. XOMA is currently screening patients for both studies.

The first study (phase III) will evaluate the candidate’s potential in reducing the symptoms in patients suffering from non-infectious uveitis (:NIU) involving the intermediate and/or posterior segment of the eye. The primary endpoint of the randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled study is the proportion of patients showing reduction in vitreous haze score on Day 56 following gevokizumab treatment. 

We note that uveitis refers to inflammatory diseases that affect the uvea portion of the eye. The different forms of uveitis (intermediate, posterior and pan-uveitis) are collectively known as NIU. NIU can lead to blindness due to swelling of tissues.

The other study (phase II) will evaluate the potential of the candidate to improve symptoms of pain, physical function and other abnormalities in patients with erosive osteoarthritis of the hand. XOMA expects to enroll around 90 patients in this proof-of-concept study of gevokizumab.

Notably, in January 2011, XOMA joined hands with Les Laboratoires Servier to develop and commercialize gevokizumab. As per the agreement, XOMA received around $35 million upfront and can get up to $470 million in milestone payments and tiered royalties. XOMA retained development and commercialization rights for NIU and other inflammatory and oncology indications in the U.S. and Japan.

XOMA has collaboration agreements with other companies like Novartis AG (NVS), Takeda and AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AVEO) as well.

Our Recommendation

Currently, we have a Neutral long-term stance on XOMA. The company carries a Zacks #4 Rank (Sell rating) in the short run.

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