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Celgene (CELG) Receives Approvable Letter From FDA For THALOMID(R) In Treatment Of Newly Diagnosed Multiple Myeloma; FDA Requests Labeling Changes  
11/15/2005 10:41:01 AM

SUMMIT, N.J., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Celgene Corporation (Nasdaq: CELG - News) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an approvable letter in response to the Company's sNDA for multiple myeloma (MM). The FDA has requested revised product labeling with the specific indication of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma and updated safety information, as well as some additional patient information to finalize its review.

The THALOMID sNDA is based on results from a large Phase III randomized Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) study comparing thalidomide plus dexamethasone to dexamethasone alone in previously untreated multiple myeloma patients.

"Based on ongoing discussions with the FDA we expect to complete our responses to these requests quickly," said Graham Burton, M.D., SVP, Regulatory Affairs and Pharmacovigilance for Celgene.

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma (also known as myeloma or plasma cell myeloma) is a cancer of the blood in which malignant plasma cells are overproduced in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are white blood cells that help produce antibodies called immunoglobulins that fight infection and disease. However, most patients with multiple myeloma have cells that produce a form of immuno- globulin called paraprotein (or M protein) that does not benefit the body. In addition, the malignant plasma cells replace normal plasma cells and other white blood cells important to the immune system. Multiple myeloma cells can also attach to other tissues of the body, such as bone, and produce tumors. The cause of the disease remains unknown.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common cancer of the blood, representing approximately one percent of all cancers and two percent of all cancer deaths with a reported worldwide prevalence of approximately 200,000 cases. In the year 2004, there were an estimated 74,000 new cases of multiple myeloma worldwide. The estimated number of deaths from multiple myeloma in 2005 is about 60,000 worldwide.

Safety Notice

THALOMID® (thalidomide) Capsules 50 mg, 100 mg, & 200 mg

If thalidomide is taken during pregnancy, it can cause severe birth defects or death to an unborn baby. Thalidomide should never be used by women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant while taking the drug. Even a single dose, one capsule (50 mg, 100 mg and 200 mg), taken by a pregnant woman can cause severe birth defects. Because thalidomide is present in the semen of male patients, males receiving thalidomide must always use a latex condom during sexual contact with women of childbearing potential even if he has undergone a successful vasectomy. Thalidomide can only be marketed under a special restricted distribution program. This program is called the "System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety (S.T.E.P.S.®). Under this program, only registered prescribers and pharmacists may dispense the drug. In addition, patients must be advised of, agree to and comply with the requirements of S.T.E.P.S.

Thalidomide is known to cause nerve damage that may be permanent. Peripheral neuropathy is a common, potentially severe, side effect of treatment with thalidomide that may be irreversible. Patients with neoplastic and various inflammatory conditions being treated with thalidomide in combination with other agents may have an increased incidence of thromboembolic events such as pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombophlebitis, thrombophlebitis, or thrombosis. Decreased white blood cell counts, including neutropenia, have been reported in the clinical use of thalidomide. In placebo controlled clinical trials of HIV-seropositive patient populations, there have been reports of increased plasma HIV RNA levels associated with thalidomide therapy. The most common adverse events observed in clinical use in ENL and HIV-seropositive patient populations are rash, maculo-papular rash, drowsiness/somnolence, peripheral neuropathy, dizziness/orthostatic hypotension, neutropenia, and increased HIV-viral load. Patients should be advised about these associated adverse events and routinely monitored by a physician during treatment with thalidomide. Patients should be instructed to not extensively handle or open thalidomide capsules and to maintain storage of capsules in blister packs until ingestion.

About THALOMID

THALOMID (thalidomide), manufactured by Celgene Corporation, received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance on July 16, 1998 for the acute treatment of cutaneous manifestations of moderate to severe erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) and as maintenance therapy for prevention and suppression of the cutaneous manifestations of ENL recurrence. Thalidomide is not indicated as monotherapy for ENL treatment in the presence of moderate to severe neuritis. Thalidomide currently has a pending regulatory application (sNDA) under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thalidomide is not presently indicated or approved by the FDA for use in any related cancer.

About Celgene

Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation. For more information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.celgene.com.

This release contains certain forward-looking statements which involve known and unknown risks, delays, uncertainties and other factors not under the Company's control, which may cause actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from the results, performance or other expectations implied by these forward-looking statements. These factors include results of current or pending research and development activities, actions by the FDA and other regulatory authorities, and those factors detailed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission such as 10K, 10Q and 8K reports.

Source: Celgene Corporation


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