Is Molmed the canary in Bellicum and Kiadis’s coalmine?

Disappointing sales of Molmed’s stem cell transplant add-on, Zalmoxis, could be a worry to rivals Bellicum and Kiadis. So far, Molmed is blaming Zalmoxis’s lacklustre launch on its marketing partner, Dompé – but its competitors will no doubt be watching for signs of weak demand. Zalmoxis, which got the go-ahead in Europe two years ago, consists of T cells that have been modified to include a “suicide switch”. It is given as part of haematopoietic stem cell transplantation in partially matched blood cancer patients; the risk of graft-versus-host disease normally means that a fully matched donor is needed, but here the suicide switch serves as a safety net to ablate the cells in case complications do arise. This makes Zalmoxis similar to Bellicum’s BPX-501, which is due to be filed in Europe next year – a clinical hold in the US was recently lifted. Meanwhile, Kiadis’s Atir101 does not include a suicide switch but undergoes a procedure to remove GvHD-causing cells. It is unclear yet whether Molmed wants a new partner for Zalmoxis – if it does, and manages to get one, and sales still do not pick up, then Bellicum and Kiadis might have something to worry about.

Stem cell transplant add-ons
Project Company Modifications Status
Zalmoxis Molmed Ganciclovir/valganciclovir-triggered "suicide switch" Approved in EU, phase III in US
BPX-501 Bellicum Rimiducid-triggered "suicide switch"; alpha/beta T cells removed EU filing due 2019, phase I/II in US
Atir101 Kiadis GvHD-causing cells removed using Kiadis's photodepletion tech Filed in EU, phase III in US
Source: Company websites.

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