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POMALYST? What happened to Actimid?

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POMALYST? What happened to Actimid?

I emailed my Celgene contact, Greg Geissman, last evening after learning that pomalidomide’s trade name would be POMALYST.  My question:  What happened to the anticipated trade name, Actimid?

Actimid, wow, blast from the past, I think we stopped using that proposed name a few years back. We had been simply going by the generic name until we were able to announce the new name today. 


A few years back?  I found Actimid used for CC-4047 (pomalidomide) as far back as 2002 in a Celgene press release:

MONTREAL, QC — July 8, 2002 — Celgene Corporation announced today that investigators from Guy’s Hospital in London presented interim data at the 31st Annual Meeting of the International Society for Experimental Hematology from an ongoing Phase I/II trial of Actimid (CC-4047) in relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. Steven Schey, M.D., and his colleagues reported that Actimid demonstrated anti-tumor activity in multiple myeloma and has an acceptable toxicity profile.

“Actimid was well tolerated and active in this population of heavily pretreated multiple myeloma patients,” said Steven Schey, M.D., Clinical Director of Hematology and Transplants at Guy’s Hospital. “We were encouraged to observe that, although this trial was not designed to detect an effect on quality of life, patients described a subjective improvement in their well being early in treatment.”

But as Greg explained, somewhere along the line the company decided to use the “generic name,” pomalidomide, as the default name.  Not sure what was wrong with Actimid, but I’m sure some very pricy consultants made a good buck tossing that name out and helping to designate POMALYST as the new, trademarked name.

My question is this:  If Actimid/CC-4047/pomalidomide/POMALYST was effective back in 2002–way before Thalomid and Revlimid were even FDA approved–why is the drug only being reviewed for FDA approval now?

Names are just names.  But by multiple myeloma standards, pomalidomide is a great drug.  Why has it taken a dozen or more years to get this drug to multiple myeloma patients outside of a few clinical studies?

I’m just asking…

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat