Apellis Announces U.S. FDA Approval of the EMPAVELI® Injector, a Device to Streamline Self-Administration

  • Compact, single-use, on-body injector designed to enhance the patient experience of administering EMPAVELI® (pegcetacoplan)

EMPAVELI Injector Photo

WALTHAM, Mass., Oct. 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc,  (Nasdaq: APLS) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the EMPAVELI® Injector. The EMPAVELI Injector is a compact, single-use, on-body device designed to enhance self-administration of EMPAVELI (pegcetacoplan), which is approved for adults with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).

“EMPAVELI continues to demonstrate its potential to elevate the standard of care, including rapid and sustained improvements of PNH disease measures. Now, we are further enhancing the patient experience with the approval of the EMPAVELI Injector, an innovative and first-of-its-kind, high-volume injector,” said Peter Hillmen, M.B. Ch.B., Ph.D., head, rare disease advisor, Apellis. “This approval is an example of how we are continually innovating with patients at the forefront.”

The EMPAVELI Injector is the first high-volume (20mL), subcutaneous on-body delivery system which features several advances to streamline self-administration. The compact device offers patients greater mobility when administering EMPAVELI. A push button starts the injection, and the hidden needle automatically retracts upon dose completion. The EMPAVELI Injector is developed in collaboration with Enable Injections, based on the enFuse® Syringe Transfer System.

“The approval of the EMPAVELI Injector is an exciting advancement. People living with PNH can now receive the benefits of EMPAVELI via on-body treatment administration, allowing for greater mobility,” said Carlos de Castro, M.D., professor of medicine, Duke University. “With the EMPAVELI Injector, patients can seamlessly integrate EMPAVELI treatment into their daily lives, whether that is at home or on the go.”

For administration instructions, please see the EMPAVELI Injector Instructions for Use.

About EMPAVELI®/Aspaveli® (pegcetacoplan)
EMPAVELI®/Aspaveli® (pegcetacoplan) is a targeted C3 therapy designed to regulate excessive activation of the complement cascade, part of the body’s immune system, which can lead to the onset and progression of many serious diseases. It is approved for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) in the United States, European Union, and other countries globally. The therapy is also under investigation for several other rare diseases across hematology and nephrology.

U.S. Important Safety Information for EMPAVELI

BOXED WARNING: SERIOUS INFECTIONS CAUSED BY ENCAPSULATED BACTERIA

  • Meningococcal infections may occur in patients treated with EMPAVELI and may become rapidly life-threatening or fatal if not recognized and treated early. Use of EMPAVELI may predispose individuals to serious infections, especially those caused by encapsulated bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis types A, C, W, Y, and B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B.
  • Comply with the most current Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for vaccinations against encapsulated bacteria.
  • Vaccinate patients at least 2 weeks prior to administering the first dose of EMPAVELI unless the risks of delaying therapy with EMPAVELI outweigh the risk of developing a serious infection.
  • Vaccination reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of serious infections. Monitor patients for early signs of serious infections and evaluate immediately if infection is suspected.
  • EMPAVELI is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Under the EMPAVELI REMS, prescribers must enroll in the program.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Hypersensitivity to pegcetacoplan or to any of the excipients
  • Not currently vaccinated against certain encapsulated bacteria, unless the risks of delaying EMPAVELI treatment outweigh the risks of developing a bacterial infection with an encapsulated organism
  • Unresolved serious infection caused by encapsulated bacteria including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Serious Infections Caused by Encapsulated Bacteria
The use of EMPAVELI may predispose individuals to serious, life-threatening, or fatal infections caused by encapsulated bacteria, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis types A, C, W, Y, and B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). To reduce the risk of infection, all patients must be vaccinated against these bacteria according to the most current ACIP recommendations for patients with altered immunocompetence associated with complement deficiencies. Revaccinate patients in accordance with ACIP recommendations considering the duration of therapy with EMPAVELI.

For patients without known history of vaccination, administer required vaccines at least 2 weeks prior to receiving the first dose of EMPAVELI. If immediate therapy with EMPAVELI is indicated, administer required vaccine as soon as possible and provide patients with 2 weeks of antibacterial drug prophylaxis.

Closely monitor patients for early signs and symptoms of serious infection and evaluate patients immediately if an infection is suspected. Promptly treat known infections. Serious infection may become rapidly life-threatening or fatal if not recognized and treated early. Consider discontinuation of EMPAVELI in patients who are undergoing treatment for serious infections.

EMPAVELI REMS
Because of the risk of serious infections, EMPAVELI is available only through a restricted program under a REMS. Under the EMPAVELI REMS, prescribers must enroll in the program and must counsel patients about the risk of serious infection, provide the patients with the REMS educational materials, and ensure patients are vaccinated against encapsulated bacteria. Enrollment and additional information are available by telephone: 1-888-343-7073 or at www.empavelirems.com.

Infusion-Related Reactions
Systemic hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., facial swelling, rash, urticaria) have occurred in patients treated with EMPAVELI. One patient (less than 1% in clinical studies) experienced a serious allergic reaction which resolved after treatment with antihistamines. If a severe hypersensitivity reaction (including anaphylaxis) occurs, discontinue EMPAVELI infusion immediately, institute appropriate treatment, per standard of care, and monitor until signs and symptoms are resolved.

Monitoring PNH Manifestations after Discontinuation of EMPAVELI
After discontinuing treatment with EMPAVELI, closely monitor for signs and symptoms of hemolysis, identified by elevated LDH levels along with sudden decrease in PNH clone size or hemoglobin, or reappearance of symptoms such as fatigue, hemoglobinuria, abdominal pain, dyspnea, major adverse vascular events (including thrombosis), dysphagia, or erectile dysfunction. Monitor any patient who discontinues EMPAVELI for at least 8 weeks to detect hemolysis and other reactions. If hemolysis, including elevated LDH, occurs after discontinuation of EMPAVELI, consider restarting treatment with EMPAVELI.

Interference with Laboratory Tests
There may be interference between silica reagents in coagulation panels and EMPAVELI that results in artificially prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT); therefore, avoid the use of silica reagents in coagulation panels.

ADVERSE REACTIONS
Most common adverse reactions in patients with PNH (incidence ≥10%) were injection-site reactions, infections, diarrhea, abdominal pain, respiratory tract infection, pain in extremity, hypokalemia, fatigue, viral infection, cough, arthralgia, dizziness, headache, and rash.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Females of Reproductive Potential
EMPAVELI may cause embryo-fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. Pregnancy testing is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to treatment with EMPAVELI. Advise female patients of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with EMPAVELI and for 40 days after the last dose.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING regarding serious infections caused by encapsulated bacteria, and Medication Guide.

About Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH)
PNH is a rare, chronic, life-threatening blood disorder characterized by the destruction of oxygen-carrying red blood cells through extravascular and intravascular hemolysis. Persistently low hemoglobin can result in frequent transfusions and debilitating symptoms such as severe fatigue, hemoglobinuria, and difficulty breathing (dyspnea).

About the Apellis and Sobi Collaboration
Apellis and Sobi entered a collaboration to develop and commercialize systemic pegcetacoplan in October 2020. The companies have global co-development rights for systemic pegcetacoplan. Apellis has exclusive U.S. commercialization rights for systemic pegcetacoplan and retains worldwide commercial rights for ophthalmological pegcetacoplan, including for geographic atrophy (GA). Sobi has exclusive ex-U.S. commercialization rights for systemic pegcetacoplan.

About Apellis 
Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company that combines courageous science and compassion to develop life-changing therapies for some of the most challenging diseases patients face. We ushered in the first new class of complement medicine in 15 years and now have two approved medicines targeting C3. These include the first-ever therapy for geographic atrophy, a leading cause of blindness around the world. With nearly a dozen clinical and pre-clinical programs underway, we believe we have only begun to unlock the potential of targeting C3 across many serious diseases. For more information, please visit http://apellis.com or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Apellis Forward-Looking Statement
Statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects, as well as any other statements regarding matters that are not historical facts, may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of Apellis’ Annual Report on Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 21, 2023 and the risks described in other filings that Apellis may make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Apellis specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contacts:

Media:
Lissa Pavluk
media@apellis.com
617.977.6764

Investors: 
Meredith Kaya 
meredith.kaya@apellis.com
617.599.8178 

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/2114f59b-9952-4dcf-835f-c5a0dfc9316b


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