PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) and AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Empliciti (elotuzumab) for the treatment of multiple myeloma as combination therapy with Revlimid® (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone (ERd) in patients who have received one to three prior therapies. The approval of this first and only immunostimulatory antibody for multiple myeloma is based on data from the randomized, open-label, Phase 3, ELOQUENT-2 study, which demonstrated that the ERd regimen resulted in a 30% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death compared to Rd alone (HR 0.70 [95% CI: 0.57, 0.85; p = 0.0004]).
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The co-primary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS), as assessed by hazard ratio, and overall response rate (ORR). With a minimum of two years follow-up, ERd delivered a benefit in PFS that was maintained over time, with PFS rates of 68% versus 57% at one year and 41% versus 27% at two years in the ERd and Rd arms, respectively. The ERd regimen also demonstrated a significant improvement in ORR, achieving an ORR of 78.5% (95% CI: 73.6% to 82.9%) versus 65.5% in the Rd arm (95% CI: 60.1% to 70.7%). The most common adverse reactions in ERd and Rd, respectively (>20%) were fatigue (61.6%, 51.7%), diarrhea (46.9%, 36.0%), pyrexia (37.4%, 24.6%), constipation (35.5%, 27.1%), cough (34.3%, 18.9%), peripheral neuropathy (26.7%, 20.8%), nasopharyngitis (24.5%, 19.2%), upper respiratory tract infection (22.6%, 17.4%), decreased appetite (20.8%, 12.6%), and pneumonia (20.1%, 14.2%).
"At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are leading a revolution in cancer treatment that is changing expectations for patients with some of the hardest-to-treat cancers. With today's approval of Empliciti, we are pleased to now bring the promise of our Immuno-Oncology research to patients with multiple myeloma," said Francis Cuss, MB Bchir, FRCP, chief scientific officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "Empliciti represents a fundamentally different approach of directly activating the immune system in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, delivering improved outcomes for those in need."
Empliciti is available for injection for intravenous use in 300 mg and 400 mg vials. The company expects to begin shipping Empliciti within the next 48 hours. Empliciti is also under review by the European Medicines Agency and has been granted accelerated assessment.
Discontinuation rates due to adverse reactions were similar across the ERd and Rd control arms (6.0% vs. 6.3%). ERd is associated with the following Warnings and Precautions: Infusion Reactions, Infections, Second Primary Malignancies, Hepatotoxicity, Interference with Determination of Complete Response, Pregnancy/Females and Males of Reproductive Potential, and Adverse Reactions. Please see the detailed Important Safety Information and a link to the Prescribing Information below.
"Multiple myeloma remains largely incurable, with only half of patients surviving five years after diagnosis," said Sagar Lonial, M.D., chief medical officer of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. "The approval of elotuzumab (Empliciti) provides renewed hope for the multiple myeloma community who urgently need a treatment option that extends the time patients live without their disease progressing."
"Empliciti in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone is an important new option for patients with multiple myeloma and healthcare providers who are treating this cancer," said Michael Severino, M.D., executive vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer, AbbVie. "AbbVie is pleased to have partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb in making this new treatment available for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma."
ELOQUENT-2 (CA204-004) is a randomized, open-label, Phase 3 study evaluating Empliciti in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone (ERd) versus lenalidomide and dexamethasone (Rd) alone in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The trial enrolled 646 patients who had received one to three prior therapies. Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive either Empliciti 10 mg/kg in combination with Rd or Rd alone in 4-week cycles until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Baseline patient demographics and disease characteristics were well balanced between treatment arms and included a meaningful portion of patients who were ≥ 65 years old, had high-risk cytogenetics, and/or were refractory to the most recent line of therapy. The minimum follow-up for all study subjects was 24 months. The co-primary endpoints were PFS, as assessed by hazard ratio, and ORR as determined by a blinded Independent Review Committee using the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation response criteria. Results of the ELOQUENT-2 study were published in The New England Journal of Medicine on June 2, 2015.
The study demonstrated that the ERd regimen resulted in a 30% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death compared to Rd alone (HR 0.70 [95% CI: 0.57, 0.85; p = 0.0004]). Additionally, the PFS rates in the ERd arm versus the Rd arm were 68% versus 57% at one year and 41% versus 27% at two years, respectively. The ERd regimen demonstrated a significant improvement in ORR, achieving an ORR of 78.5% (95% CI, 73.6% to 82.9%; p = 0.0002) in the ERd arm versus 65.5% in the Rd arm (95% CI, 60.1% to 70.7%). The median PFS in the ERd group was 19.4 months (95% CI, 16.6 to 22.2) versus 14.9 months (95% CI, 12.1 to 17.2) in the Rd group. At the time of the interim analysis, there were fewer deaths in the ERd versus Rd study arm (94 [29%] versus 116 [36%], respectively).
Serious adverse reactions were reported in 65.4% of patients treated on the ERd arm and 56.5% for patients treated on the Rd arm. The most frequent serious adverse reactions in the ERd arm compared to the Rd arm were: pneumonia (15.4%, 11%), pyrexia (6.9%, 4.7%), respiratory tract infection (3.1%, 1.3%), anemia (2.8%, 1.9%), pulmonary embolism (3.1%, 2.5%), and acute renal failure (2.5%, 1.9%). The most common adverse reactions in ERd and Rd, respectively (>20%) are fatigue (61.6%, 51.7%), diarrhea (46.9%, 36.0%), pyrexia (37.4%, 24.6%), constipation (35.5%, 27.1%), cough (34.3%, 18.9%), peripheral neuropathy (26.7%, 20.8%), nasopharyngitis (24.5%, 19.2%), upper respiratory tract infection (22.6%, 17.4%), decreased appetite (20.8%, 12.6%), and pneumonia (20.1%, 14.2%). Infusion reactions occurred in 10% of patients treated with ERd; these adverse events were Grade 3 or lower (Grade 3, 1%; Grade 4, 0%) and were manageable. In the trial, 1% of patients discontinued due to infusion reactions and 5% of patients required interruption of the administration of Empliciti for a median of 25 minutes. Grade 3/4 laboratory abnormalities that worsened from baseline and had a 10% or higher incidence for ERd patients and a 5% higher incidence than Rd patients were: lymphopenia (76.7%, 48.7%), leukopenia (32.4%, 25.6%), hyperglycemia (17.0%, 10.2%), and hypocalcemia (11.3% and 4.7%). Overall, the proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions was similar for the ERd and Rd arms (6.0% vs. 6.3%, respectively).
"The approval of Empliciti is an innovative advancement in the treatment of multiple myeloma," said Walter M. Capone, chief executive officer and president, The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. "This is an exciting opportunity for patients who experience relapse and may benefit from this new immunotherapy treatment."
Empliciti is an immunostimulatory antibody that specifically targets Signaling Lymphocyte Activation Molecule Family member 7 (SLAMF7), a cell-surface glycoprotein. SLAMF7 is expressed on myeloma cells independent of cytogenetic abnormalities. SLAMF7 is also expressed on Natural Killer cells, plasma cells, and at lower levels on specific immune cell subsets of differentiated cells within the hematopoietic lineage.
Empliciti has a dual mechanism-of-action. It directly activates the immune system through Natural Killer cells via the SLAMF7 pathway. Empliciti also targets SLAMF7 on myeloma cells, tagging these malignant cells for Natural Killer cell-mediated destruction via antibody-dependent cellular toxicity.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and AbbVie are co-developing Empliciti, with Bristol-Myers Squibb solely responsible for commercial activities. Prior to approval, Empliciti was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA for use in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone for the treatment of multiple myeloma in patients who have received one to three prior therapies. According to the FDA, Breakthrough Therapy Designation is intended to expedite the development and review of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions. The criteria for Breakthrough Therapy Designation requires preliminary clinical evidence that demonstrates the drug may have substantial improvement on at least one clinically significant endpoint over available therapy.
About Bristol-Myers Squib's Patient Support Programs
Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to helping patients through treatment with Empliciti. For support and assistance, patients and physicians may call 1-844-EMPLICITI. This number offers one-stop access to a range of support services for patients and healthcare professionals alike.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb's Access Support
Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to helping patients access Empliciti and offers numerous programs to support patients and providers in gaining access. BMS Access Support®, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Reimbursement Services program, is designed to support access to BMS medicines and expedite time to therapy through reimbursement support including Benefit Investigations, Prior Authorization Facilitation, Appeals Assistance, and assistance for patient out-of-pocket costs. BMS Access Support assists patients and providers throughout the treatment journey―whether it is at initial diagnosis or in support of transition from a clinical trial. More information about our reimbursement support services can be obtained by calling 1-800-861-0048 or by visiting www.bmsaccesssupport.com. For healthcare providers seeking Empliciti specific reimbursement information, please visit the BMS Access Support Product section by visiting www.bmsaccesssupportoncology.com.
About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is a hematologic, or blood, cancer that develops in the bone marrow. It occurs when a plasma cell, a type of cell in the soft center of bone marrow, becomes cancerous and multiplies uncontrollably. Common symptoms of multiple myeloma include bone pain, fatigue, kidney impairment, and infections.
Despite advances in multiple myeloma treatment over the last decade, less than half of patients survive for five or more years after diagnosis. A common characteristic for many patients is that they experience a cycle of remission and relapse, in which they stop treatment for a short time, but eventually return to a treatment shortly after. It is estimated that annually, more than 114,200 new cases of multiple myeloma are diagnosed and more than 80,000 people die from the disease globally.
EMPLICITI (elotuzumab) INDICATIONS & IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
EMPLICITI™ (elotuzumab), is indicated in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received one to three prior therapies.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
In a clinical trial of patients with multiple myeloma (n=365), EMPLICITI caused infusion reactions. Common symptoms include fever, chills, and hypertension. Bradycardia and hypotension also developed during infusions. In the trial, 5% of patients required interruption of the administration of EMPLICITI for a median of 25 minutes due to infusion reactions, and 1% of patients discontinued due to infusion reactions. Of the patients who experienced an infusion reaction, 70% (23/33) had them during the first dose. If a Grade 2 or higher infusion reaction occurs, interrupt the EMPLICITI infusion and institute appropriate medical and supportive measures. If the infusion reaction recurs, stop the EMPLICITI infusion and do not restart it on that day. Severe infusion reactions may require permanent discontinuation of EMPLICITI therapy and emergency treatment.
Premedicate with dexamethasone, H1 Blocker, H2 Blocker, and acetaminophen prior to infusing with EMPLICITI.
Infections were reported in 81.4% of patients in the EMPLICITI with lenalidomide/dexamethasone arm (ERd) and 74.4% in the lenalidomide/dexamethasone arm (Rd). Grade 3-4 infections were 28% (ERd) and 24.3% (Rd). Opportunistic infections were reported in 22% (ERd) and 12.9% (Rd). Fungal infections were 9.7% (ERd) and 5.4% (Rd). Herpes zoster was 13.5% (ERd) and 6.9% (Rd). Discontinuations due to infections were 3.5% (ERd) and 4.1% (Rd). Fatal infections were 2.5% (ERd) and 2.2% (Rd). Monitor patients for development of infections and treat promptly.
Second Primary Malignancies
Invasive second primary malignancies (SPM) were 9.1% (ERd) and 5.7% (Rd). The rate of hematologic malignancies were the same between ERd and Rd treatment arms (1.6%). Solid tumors were reported in 3.5% (ERd) and 2.2% (Rd). Skin cancer was reported in 4.4% (ERd) and 2.8% (Rd). Monitor patients for the development of SPMs.
Elevations in liver enzymes (AST/ALT greater than 3 times the upper limit, total bilirubin greater than 2 times the upper limit, and alkaline phosphatase less than 2 times the upper limit) consistent with hepatotoxicity were 2.5% (ERd) and 0.6% (Rd). Two patients experiencing hepatotoxicity discontinued treatment; however, 6 out of 8 patients had resolution and continued treatment. Monitor liver enzymes periodically. Stop EMPLICITI upon Grade 3 or higher elevation of liver enzymes. After return to baseline values, continuation of treatment may be considered.
Interference with Determination of Complete Response
EMPLICITI is a humanized IgG kappa monoclonal antibody that can be detected on both the serum protein electrophoresis and immunofixation assays used for the clinical monitoring of endogenous M-protein. This interference can impact the determination of complete response and possibly relapse from complete response in patients with IgG kappa myeloma protein.
Pregnancy/Females and Males of Reproductive Potential
There are no studies with EMPLICITI with pregnant women to inform any drug associated risks.
There is a risk of fetal harm, including severe life-threatening human birth defects associated with lenalidomide and it is contraindicated for use in pregnancy. Refer to the lenalidomide full prescribing information for requirements regarding contraception and the prohibitions against blood and/or sperm donation due to presence and transmission in blood and/or semen and for additional information.
Infusion reactions were reported in approximately 10% of patients treated with EMPLICITI with lenalidomide and dexamethasone. All reports of infusion reaction were Grade 3 or lower. Grade 3 infusion reactions occurred in 1% of patients.
Serious adverse reactions were 65.4% (ERd) and 56.5% (Rd). The most frequent serious adverse reactions in the ERd arm compared to the Rd arm were: pneumonia (15.4%, 11%), pyrexia (6.9%, 4.7%), respiratory tract infection (3.1%, 1.3%), anemia (2.8%, 1.9%), pulmonary embolism (3.1%, 2.5%), and acute renal failure (2.5%, 1.9%).
The most common adverse reactions in ERd and Rd, respectively (>20%) are fatigue (61.6%, 51.7%), diarrhea (46.9%, 36.0%), pyrexia (37.4%, 24.6%), constipation (35.5%, 27.1%), cough (34.3%, 18.9%), peripheral neuropathy (26.7%, 20.8%), nasopharyngitis (24.5%, 19.2%), upper respiratory tract infection (22.6%, 17.4%), decreased appetite (20.8%, 12.6%), and pneumonia (20.1%, 14.2%).
Please see the full Prescribing Information here.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb, visit www.bms.com or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bmsnews.
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases. Together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pharmacyclics, AbbVie employs more than 28,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Forward-Looking Statement
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding the research, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, and could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from current expectations. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Bristol-Myers Squibb's business, particularly those identified in the cautionary factors discussion in Bristol-Myers Squibb's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and our Current Reports on Form 8-K. Bristol-Myers Squibb undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
AbbVie Forward-Looking Statements
Some statements in this news release may be forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project" and similar expressions, among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. AbbVie cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, challenges to intellectual property, competition from other products, difficulties inherent in the research and development process, adverse litigation or government action, and changes to laws and regulations applicable to our industry. Additional information about the economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect AbbVie's operations is set forth in Item 1A, "Risk Factors," in AbbVie's 2014 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AbbVie undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.
Empliciti is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. BMS Access Support is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Revlimid is a registered trademark of Celgene Corporation.
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