North Hollywood, CA and South San Francisco, CA, December 6, 2013 — The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an Amgen subsidiary (Nasdaq: AMGN), today announced the start of a multi-year collaboration in support of the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI®). The BSRI is led by a multinational consortium of leading myeloma experts who are studying and harnessing new technologies and treatments with the goal of developing a cure for myeloma.
“The goal of bridging the gap from long-term remission to cure is in sight,” said Brian G.M. Durie, M.D., Chairman and Co-founder of the IMF. “With recent technological advances, a group of elite researchers working together, and support from partners like Onyx, BSRI aims to find a cure for myeloma by identifying the best treatments to use at the best time to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient. To achieve the program’s objective, BRSI plans to define and assess minimal residual disease (MRD), or MRD-Zero™ as a clinical endpoint.
BSRI researchers are developing sophisticated and extremely sensitive tests to measure MRD at the cellular and molecular levels in myeloma patients. This would precisely measure myeloma levels in the body and patients’ response to therapy. The MRD testing will be standardized and validated so clinicians around the globe would be able to use the same approach. Onyx, the inaugural industry sponsor of BSRI, will partner closely with the IMF to support this BSRI initiative.
“We are proud to work in partnership with the IMF to better understand myeloma at a molecular level in order to help identify the best treatments for individual patients,” said Homa Yeganegi, Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Onyx. “We share the IMF’s commitment to improving the lives of patients while working toward a cure, and we look forward to the outputs from this important research initiative that will ultimately impact the way myeloma patients are treated.”
“It is an incredibly exciting time for myeloma patients and researchers,” said Susie Novis, President and Co-founder of the IMF. “As new treatment options are improving outcomes and quality of life for patients, the BSRI team is committed to now move forward to the next stage in advancing science, with the ultimate goal of curing patients. We are grateful for Onyx’s belief in BSRI and their commitment to myeloma patients.”
Until recently, myeloma research focused on comparing one treatment to another to help patients achieve comparatively better progression-free survival or overall survival. Currently, it takes between 10 to 15 years to develop, test and get a new drug approved1. The testing developed under the BSRI is expected to determine the efficacy of new drugs in months rather than years, thus, potentially speeding global approval of new drugs and lowering the cost of bringing a drug to market.
Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects production of red cells, white cells and stem cells and can damage bone. It is the second most common blood cancer.
To learn more about the Black Swan Research Initiative, please visit: www.blackswan.myeloma.org.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, the International Myeloma Foundation reaches more than 240,000 members in 120 countries worldwide. A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.
About Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Based in South San Francisco, California, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an Amgen subsidiary, is a global biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for improving the lives of people with cancer. The company is focused on developing novel medicines that target key molecular pathways. For more information about Onyx, visit the company’s website at www.onyx.com. Onyx Pharmaceuticals is on Twitter. Sign up to follow our Twitter feed @OnyxPharm at http://twitter.com/OnyxPharm.
1 “PhRMA Profile 2013” PhRMA. Available at http://phrma.org/sites/default/files/pdf/PhRMA%20Profile%202013.pdf. Accessed November 25, 2013.