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an aggressive set of clinical trials it has teed up to expand use of Adcetris. For starters, the company looks to extend Adcetris to patients with earlier-stage forms of Hodgkin’s disease and anaplastic large cell lymphoma. There’s more potential for the drug in retreatment of patients, and in the “maintenance” setting in which patients get the drug to ward off future relapses. A pivotal-stage trial just got underway for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and another study is looking at whether Adcetris can help patients with solid tumors that carry the molecular target Adcetris is designed to hit, CD30. Seattle Genetics and its partner, Millennium, are working with Roche’s Ventana Medical Systems to develop a companion diagnostic test to look for CD30 to more readily identify patients who are good candidates for Adcetris.
Financially, the new cash flow from Adcetris is enabling the company to continue to raise expenses on sales and marketing as well as R&D, while narrowing its net losses. The company’s R&D expenses climbed to $38.5 million in the first quarter, from $32.4 million in the same period a year earlier. Sales, marketing and administrative costs rose to $22.2 million, from $12.7 million a year earlier. Despite the increasing expenses, Seattle Genetics’ net loss narrowed to $12.3 million in the first quarter, far less than the $32.6 million loss it had a year earlier, before Adcetris hit the market.
Seattle Genetics said it had $308.9 million of cash and reserves at the end of March, down from $330.7 million it had at the beginning of the year. There was no discussion on today’s call about when Seattle Genetics might turn profitable, but there was also no talk about any need to raise more cash from investors. “We are in a strong financial situation,” said Todd Simpson, the company’s chief financial officer.
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