Cellectar Biosciences is reporting positive results in an ongoing clinical trial for the company’s lead cancer drug candidate.

Meanwhile, year-end numbers for 2018 show net loss was about the same as the previous year, while research and development costs are down by nearly a third.

In a cohort of patients with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the body’s plasma cells, Cellectar’s therapy resulted in a 30 percent overall response rate in 10 patients. That means levels of a certain cancer marker decreased by 30 percent in that group.

In that same cohort, individuals had varying levels of response. One patient had a “very good” partial response, defined as 90 percent or greater decrease in the cancer marker. Two patients had their markers decrease by between 50 and 89 percent.

These patients received one 30-minute infusion of the drug in a smaller dose than is currently being explored in a separate clinical trial. That same dosage has previously achieved a similarly positive response rate in patients with a different type of cancer, according to a release.

“This represents the second cohort of patients who have demonstrated encouraging responses to our lead drug candidate while receiving suboptimal single doses,” said James Caruso, president and CEO of Madison-based Cellectar.

Along with the latest clinical trial results, Cellectar recently released its financial report for 2018, which shows research and development expenses for last year totaled $6.8 million. That’s down 28 percent from 2017, when $9.5 million was spent on R&D.

The report attributes that decrease to the company’s decision to close its manufacturing facility and outsource all of its manufacturing.

General and administrative expenses for last year totaled $4.8 million, compared to $4.1 million for 2017. The 17 percent increase is attributed to increased costs for accounting, investor relations personnel.

Net loss for 2018 was $15.5 million, or $5.23 per share. Last year, net loss was $15 million, or $10.70 per share. Read the full story here.