Pharmacyclics, the maker of lymphoma and leukemia drug Imbruvica, has just released positive news regarding its latest trial for the drug. Shares of the pharmaceutical company were halted before the release and then ended the trading day up by 0.67% to close at $256.70 per share.

Pharmacyclics Imbruvica

Earlier this month, AbbVie reportedly made an offer of $261.25 per share in cash and stock to acquire Pharmacyclics.

Pharmacyclics reports positive drug trial

The latest drug trial was a Phase III randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial for Pharmacyclics’ blood cancer drug Imbruvica in combination with bendamustine and rituximab, according to a press release posted on the drug maker’s website. The company said an independent data monitoring committee unanimously recommended the un-blinding of the Helios trial, which is what the combination of drugs is being called by the company.

The committee made that recommendation “based on clinically meaningful and statistically significant treatment benefits in the use of Imbruvica with bendamustine and rituximab. Pharmacyclics said the trial demonstrated a “statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival” in cancer patients.

Details on the Helios trial

Janssen sponsored the Helios trial, which covered 578 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma. The patients in the trial had received at least one line of systemic therapy previously. They were randomly selected to receive either an oral dose of Imbruvica in combination with six cycles of bendamustine and rituximab or a placebo with bendamustine and rituximab until the disease either progressed or the patient suffered from “unacceptable toxicity levels.”

The trial indicated that the safety profile of Imbruvica was consistent with what testers found in previous trials. The drug was jointly developed and commercialized by Pharmacyclics and Janssen Biotech.

Pharmacyclics has said it expects to sell more than $1 billion worth of its Imbruvica drug this year and more than $5.8 billion by 2020 globally.

AbbVie buys Pharmacyclics

Earlier this month, it was reported that AbbVie swooped in with a last-minute bid to acquire Pharmacyclics for a price that was higher than the bid offered previously by Johnson & Johnson. Pharmacyclics was said to be close to an agreement to be bought by Johnson & Johnson, which was said to be offering approximately $250 per share for the blood cancer drug maker.

Since that report, however, no deal has been officially announced by any of the named companies.