The words approved in red and spelled out in capitals.

Bristol Myers Squibb, bluebird bio receive FDA nod for Abecma

Abecma provides a treatment for adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma after four or more prior lines of therapy.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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Bristol Myers Squibb and bluebird bio have received the Food and Drug Administration’s green light for Abecma (idecabtagene vicleucel; ide-cel).

The medication is the first B-cell maturation antigen, or BCMA-directed chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR T cell immunotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma after four or more prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.

“CAR T cell therapies have shown transformational potential for the treatment of hematologic malignancies, and we, with our partners at bluebird bio, are proud to bring the first CAR T cell therapy to appropriate triple-class exposed patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, offering the chance for durable response,” said Samit Hirawat, chief medical officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “Bristol Myers Squibb is now the only company with two approved CAR T cell therapies with distinct targets of CD19 and BCMA. As our second FDA-approved CAR T cell therapy, Abecma underscores our commitment to deliver on the promise of cell therapies for patients who are battling aggressive and advanced blood cancers with limited effective treatment options.”

“Our journey to today’s approval of Abecma started nearly a decade ago with pioneering research at bluebird bio and has been driven ever since by our mission to provide patients with multiple myeloma a new approach to fight this relentless disease. This achievement would not have been possible without all of the patients, caregivers, investigators and healthcare staff who participated in our clinical studies, as well as the tremendous collaboration with the FDA,” said Nick Leschly, chief bluebird, bluebird bio. “Today’s announcement represents an important milestone for bluebird bio, marking both our first approved treatment in oncology and our first approved treatment in the United States.”

“In the KarMMa study, ide-cel elicited rapid responses in the majority of patients, and these deep and durable responses were observed in patients with triple-class exposed and refractory multiple myeloma,” said Nikhil Munshi, associate director, The Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass. “As a treating physician, I often work with patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who are in critical need of new therapies. Now, with the approval of ide-cel as the first anti-BCMA CAR T cell therapy, we are excited to finally be able to offer patients a new, effective personalized treatment option that is delivered through a single infusion.”