GlaxoSmithKline and drug partner Genmab have applied for approval of a chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment to be used in combination with a class of chemotherapy known as alkylators.

The supplemental Biologics License Application filed with the Food and Drug Administration for the compound Arzerra is intended for the treatment of CLL patients who have not received treatment before and for whom treatment with chemotherapy drugs called fludarabines is not appropriate.

GSK said that the application is based on phase III results of Arzerra that studied the compound alone and in combination with GSK chemotherapy drug chlorambucil. The company is scheduled to present full results of the trials in December during the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting.

CLL is the most common form of leukemia in adults. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2013 CLL will account for more than 15,680 new cases and more than 4,580 deaths in the United States. No curative chemotherapy is available for the disease.

The partnership between British pharma GSK and Danish drug developer Genmab dates to 2006 when the companies entered an agreement to co-develop and commercialize ofatumumab, the compound that is now called Arzerra. Ofatumumab is an antibody that targets the CD20 molecule. The agreement gave GSK exclusive worldwide rights to ofatumumab as well as any other antibodies that Genmab may develop targeting that molecule.

GSK operates its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park.