New Venclexta® Data Demonstrate Deep Responses in Two of the Most Common Types of Leukemia
– New analyses from the Phase III MURANO study in previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia show continued benefit from fixed-duration regimen after a median follow-up of three years –
– Updated results from two studies in newly-diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia demonstrate Venclexta combinations continued high rates of deep remission –
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced new data from the Venclexta® (venetoclax) clinical development program, including longer-term results from the Phase III MURANO study in people with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and updated data from two Phase Ib/II studies in people with previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) ineligible for intensive chemotherapy due to coexisting medical conditions. Data from the Venclexta clinical development program that ranges across multiple blood cancers, including CLL, AML, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma, will be featured in more than 30 abstracts, including 12 oral presentations, at the 60th American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2018 Annual Meeting.
“We’re excited by the versatility of Venclexta in treating a range of distinct types of blood cancer, including difficult-to-treat forms with limited options,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “These data support our broad clinical development program through which we hope to discover more ways Venclexta can be used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat additional types of cancer.”
Updated Data in CLL
Two new analyses of the Phase III MURANO study in relapsed or refractory (R/R) CLL demonstrated the continued clinical benefit of Venclexta plus Rituxan® (rituximab) was sustained after patients completed the chemotherapy-free, two-year fixed-duration course of therapy.
- An analysis showed the combination reduced the risk of disease progression or death (progression-free survival; PFS, as assessed by investigator) by 84 percent (HR=0.16; 95 percent CI: 0.12-0.23; p<0.0001) compared to standard of care bendamustine plus Rituxan (BR) after a median three-year follow-up. At three years, 71 percent of patients in the Venclexta plus Rituxan arm had not experienced disease progression, compared to 15 percent of patients in the BR arm (median PFS: not reached vs. 17.0 months, respectively). A clinically meaningful benefit in overall survival was also observed in the Venclexta arm compared to the BR arm (88 percent vs. 80 percent, HR=0.50; 95 percent CI: 0.30-0.85). Consistent benefit was observed in all patient subgroups for Venclexta plus Rituxan compared to BR, including high-risk and low-risk groups. Data were presented in an oral session on Saturday, December 1, at 2:45 P.M. PST (Abstract #184).
- A separate analysis showed higher rates of minimal residual disease (MRD)-negativity observed with Venclexta plus Rituxan compared to BR were sustained after patients completed treatment (62 percent vs. 13 percent). MRD-negativity means no cancer can be detected using a specific, highly sensitive test, and was defined as less than 1 CLL cell in 10,000 leukocytes. Importantly, these results were observed in the majority of patients in the Venclexta arm, including patients in high-risk subgroups and were consistent with the maintained PFS benefit seen with longer follow-up. These data support the utility of MRD in peripheral blood as a predictive marker of clinical outcome. No new safety signals were observed with the treatment combination of Venclexta plus Rituxan. These data will be presented in an oral session on Monday, December 3, at 11:30 A.M. PST (Abstract #695).
Updated Data in AML
Updated data from the Phase Ib M14-358 and Phase I/II M14-387 studies evaluating Venclexta in combination with a hypomethylating agent or low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) in people with previously untreated AML who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy will also be presented. These results showed that among patients who were dependent upon blood transfusions at baseline, about half were able to achieve transfusion independence (the absence of transfusions during any consecutive 56 days during the study treatment period). No unexpected safety signals were observed with Venclexta in combination with hypomethylating agents or LDAC.
- The M14-358 study showed high rates of complete remission (with at least partial blood count recovery, CR+CRh) of 67 percent for those who received Venclexta plus azacitidine and 71 percent for those who received Venclexta plus decitabine. For people taking Venclexta and azacitadine or decitabine who were dependent on blood transfusions at baseline, 50 percent and 52 percent achieved red blood cell transfusion independence, respectively; and 58 percent or 60 percent achieved platelet transfusion independence, respectively.
- The M14-387 study showed rates of complete remission (with or without full recovery of normal blood cell count, CR+CRi) of 54 percent in people who received Venclexta in combination with LDAC and a median duration of remission of 8.1 months. For people taking Venclexta with LDAC, 48 percent achieved red blood cell transfusion independence and 60 percent achieved platelet transfusion independence.
Results from the two studies were presented in an oral session on Sunday, December 2 at 7:45 A.M. PST and 8:00 A.M. PST, respectively (Abstract #284 and #285).
Based on earlier results from the M14-358 and M14-387 studies, Venclexta was granted accelerated approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of people with newly-diagnosed AML who are age 75 years or older, or for those ineligible for intensive induction chemotherapy due to coexisting medical conditions. A robust clinical development program for Venclexta in AML is ongoing, including two ongoing Phase III studies evaluating Venclexta in combination with azacitidine or with LDAC for people with previously untreated AML who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy based on results from the M14-358 and M14-387 studies.
Venclexta is being developed by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. It is jointly commercialized by the companies in the U.S. and commercialized by AbbVie outside of the U.S.
About the MURANO study
MURANO (NCT02005471) is a Phase III open-label, international, multicenter, randomized study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Venclexta in combination with Rituxan compared to bendamustine in combination with Rituxan (BR). All treatments were of fixed duration. Following a five-week dose ramp-up schedule for Venclexta, patients on the Venclexta plus Rituxan arm received six cycles of Venclexta plus Rituxan followed by Venclexta monotherapy for up to two years total. Patients on the BR arm received six cycles of BR. The study included 389 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who had been previously treated with at least one line of therapy. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either Venclexta plus Rituxan or BR. The primary endpoint of the study was progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary endpoints included overall survival (OS), overall response rate (ORR) and complete response rate (with or without complete blood count recovery, CR/CRi).
About the M14-358 study
The M14-358 study (NCT02203773) is an open-label, non-randomized, Phase Ib dose escalation and expansion study evaluating the safety and efficacy of Venclexta in combination with hypomethylating agents, azacitidine or decitabine, in 115 newly-diagnosed people with AML who were 60 years or older, or ineligible to receive intensive induction chemotherapy due to coexisting medical conditions. Study endpoints included complete remission rates, transfusion independence, overall survival and safety.
About the M14-387 study
The M14-387 study (NCT02287233) is an open-label, single-arm, Phase I/II dose escalation and expansion study evaluating the safety and efficacy of Venclexta in combination with LDAC in 82 newly-diagnosed people with AML who were 60 years or older, or ineligible to receive intensive induction chemotherapy due to coexisting medical conditions. Study endpoints included complete remission rates, transfusion independence, overall survival and safety.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common type of adult leukemia, and in 2018, it is estimated there will be more than 20,000 new cases of CLL diagnosed in the United States. Although signs of CLL may disappear for a period of time after initial treatment, the disease is considered incurable and many people will require additional treatment due to the return of cancerous cells.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common type of aggressive leukemia in adults, which has the lowest survival rate for all types of leukemia. In 2018, it is estimated there will be nearly 20,000 new cases of AML diagnosed in the United States. Many AML patients older than age 60 are unable to tolerate standard intensive chemotherapy treatment.
Venclexta is a first-in-class targeted medicine designed to selectively bind and inhibit the B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) protein. In some blood cancers and other tumors, BCL-2 builds up and prevents cancer cells from dying or self-destructing, a process called apoptosis. Venclexta blocks the BCL-2 protein and works to restore the process of apoptosis.
Venclexta is being developed by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. It is jointly commercialized by the companies in the U.S. and commercialized by AbbVie outside of the U.S. Together, the companies are committed to research with Venclexta, which is currently being studied in clinical trials across several types of blood and other cancers.
In the U.S., Venclexta has been granted four Breakthrough Therapy Designations by the FDA: in combination with Rituxan for people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL); as a monotherapy for people with relapsed or refractory CLL with 17p deletion; in combination with hypomethylating agents (azacitidine or decitabine) for people with untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) ineligible for intensive chemotherapy; and in combination with low-dose cytarabine for people with untreated AML ineligible for intensive chemotherapy.
Venclexta is a prescription medicine used:
- To treat adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), with or without 17p deletion, who have received at least 1 prior treatment.
- In combination with azacitidine, or decitabine, or low-dose cytarabine to treat adults with newly-diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who:
‒ Are 75 years of age or older, or
‒ Have other medical conditions that prevent the use of standard chemotherapy.
It is not known if Venclexta is safe and effective in children.
Important Safety Information
Venclexta can cause serious side effects, including:
Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. TLS can cause kidney failure, the need for dialysis treatment, and may lead to death. The patient’s doctor will do tests to check their risk of getting TLS before they start taking Venclexta. The patient will receive other medicines before starting and during treatment with Venclexta to help reduce the risk of TLS. The patient may also need to receive intravenous (IV) fluids through their vein.
The patient’s doctor will do blood tests to check for TLS when the patient first starts treatment and during treatment with Venclexta. It is important for patients to keep appointments for blood tests. Patients should tell their doctor right away if they have any symptoms of TLS during treatment with Venclexta, including fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, confusion, shortness of breath, seizures, irregular heartbeat, dark or cloudy urine, unusual tiredness, or muscle or joint pain.
Patients should drink plenty of water during treatment with Venclexta to help reduce the risk of getting TLS.
Patients should drink 6 to 8 glasses (about 56 ounces total) of water each day, starting 2 days before the first dose, on the day of the first dose of Venclexta, and each time a dose is increased.
The patient’s doctor may delay, decrease the dose, or stop treatment with Venclexta if the patient has side effects.
Certain medicines must not be taken when the patient first starts taking Venclexta and while the dose is being slowly increased because of the risk of increased tumor lysis syndrome.
- Patients must tell their doctor about all the medicines they take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Venclexta and other medicines may affect each other, causing serious side effects.
- Patients must not start new medicines during treatment with Venclexta without first talking with their doctor.
Before taking Venclexta, patients must tell their doctor about all of their medical conditions, including if they:
- Have kidney problems.
- Have problems with body salts or electrolytes, such as potassium, phosphorus, or calcium.
- Have a history of high uric acid levels in the blood or gout.
- Are scheduled to receive a vaccine. The patient should not receive a “live vaccine” before, during, or after treatment with Venclexta, until the patient’s doctor tells them it is okay. If the patient is not sure about the type of immunization or vaccine, the patient should ask their doctor. These vaccines may not be safe or may not work as well during treatment with Venclexta.
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Venclexta may harm an unborn baby. If the patient is able to become pregnant, the patient’s doctor should do a pregnancy test before the patient starts treatment with Venclexta, and the patient should use effective birth control during treatment and for at least 30 days after the last dose of Venclexta. If the patient becomes pregnant or thinks they are pregnant, the patient should tell their doctor right away.
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Venclexta passes into the patient’s breast milk. Patients should not breastfeed during treatment with Venclexta.
What to avoid while taking Venclexta:
Patients should not drink grapefruit juice, eat grapefruit, Seville oranges (often used in marmalades), or starfruit while they are taking Venclexta. These products may increase the amount of Venclexta in the patient’s blood.
Venclexta can cause serious side effects, including:
- Low white blood cell counts (neutropenia). Low white blood cell counts are common with Venclexta, but can also be severe. The patient’s doctor will do blood tests to check their blood counts during treatment with Venclexta. Patients should tell their doctor right away if they have a fever or any signs of an infection during treatment with Venclexta.
The most common side effects of Venclexta when used in combination with rituximab in people with CLL include low white blood cell counts; diarrhea; upper respiratory tract infection; cough; tiredness; and nausea.
The most common side effects of Venclexta when used alone in people with CLL/SLL include low white blood cell counts; diarrhea; nausea; upper respiratory tract infection; low red blood cell counts; tiredness; low platelet counts; muscle and joint pain; swelling of arms, legs, hands, and feet; and cough.
The most common side effects of Venclexta in combination with azacitidine, or decitabine, or low-dose cytarabine in people with AML include low white blood cell counts; nausea; diarrhea; low platelet counts; constipation; fever with low white blood cell counts; low red blood cell counts; infection in blood; rash; dizziness; low blood pressure; fever; swelling of arms, legs, hands, and feet; vomiting; tiredness; shortness of breath; bleeding; infection in lung; stomach (abdominal) pain; pain in muscles or back; cough; and sore throat.
Venclexta may cause fertility problems in males. This may affect the ability to father a child. Patients should talk to their doctor if they have concerns about fertility.
These are not all the possible side effects of Venclexta. Patients should tell their doctor about any side effect that bothers them or that does not go away.
Report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. Report side effects to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.
Please visit http://www.Venclexta.com for the Venclexta full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information, for additional Important Safety Information.
Rituxan® (rituximab) injection, for intravenous use, is indicated for the treatment of:
- Low-grade or follicular CD20-positive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a single-agent therapy in patients whose disease recurred or did not respond to initial treatment
- Follicular CD20-positive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as an initial treatment with chemotherapy, and in patients whose initial treatment was successful, as a single-agent follow-up therapy
- Low-grade CD20-positive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a single-agent follow-up therapy for patients who did not progress on initial treatment with CVP chemotherapy
- CD20-positive diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as an initial treatment in combination with CHOP chemotherapy
- CD20-positive chronic lymphocytic leukemia in combination with FC chemotherapy as an initial treatment or as a treatment after disease has recurred
It is not known if Rituxan is safe and effective in children.
Important Safety Information:
Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:
- Infusion Reactions: Infusion reactions are very common side effects of Rituxan treatment. Serious infusion reactions can happen during the patient’s infusion or within 24 hours after the patient’s infusion of Rituxan. The patient’s doctor should give the patient medicines before infusion of Rituxan to decrease the chance of having a severe infusion reaction.
Patients must tell their doctor or get medical help right away about any of these symptoms during or after an infusion of Rituxan:
- Hives (red itchy welts) or rash
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, or face
- Sudden cough
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or wheezing
- Dizziness or feel faint
- Palpitations (feel like the heart is racing or fluttering)
- Chest pain
- Severe Skin and Mouth Reactions: Patients must tell their doctor or get medical help right away about any of these symptoms at any time during treatment with Rituxan:
- Painful sores or ulcers on the skin, lips, or in the mouth
- Peeling skin
- Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation: Before receiving Rituxan treatment, the patient’s doctor will do blood tests to check for HBV infection. If the patient has had hepatitis B or is a carrier of hepatitis B virus, receiving Rituxan could cause the virus to become an active infection again. Hepatitis B reactivation may cause serious liver problems, including liver failure, and death. The patient’s doctor will monitor for hepatitis B infection during and for several months after the patient stops receiving Rituxan.
Patients must tell their doctor right away about worsening tiredness, or yellowing of the skin or white part of the eyes during treatment with Rituxan.
- Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML is a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus that can happen in people who receive Rituxan. People with weakened immune systems can get PML. PML can result in death or severe disability. There is no known treatment, prevention, or cure for PML.
Patients must tell their doctor right away about new or worsening symptoms or if anyone close to the patient notices these symptoms:
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Difficulty walking or talking
- Decreased strength or weakness on one side of the body
- Vision problems, such as blurred vision or loss of vision
What should patients tell their doctor before receiving Rituxan?
Before receiving Rituxan, patients should tell their doctor if they:
- Have had a severe reaction to Rituxan or a rituximab product
- Have a history of heart problems, irregular heartbeat, or chest pain
- Have lung or kidney problems
- Have had an infection, currently have an infection, or have a weakened immune system
- Have or have had any severe infections including:
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
- Parvovirus B19
- Varicella zoster virus (chickenpox or shingles)
- West Nile Virus
- Have had a recent vaccination or are scheduled to receive vaccinations. Patients should not receive certain vaccines before or during treatment with Rituxan
- Have any other medical conditions
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Patients must talk to their doctor about the risks to the patient’s unborn baby if receiving Rituxan during pregnancy. Females who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment with Rituxan and for 12 months after the last dose of Rituxan. Patients should talk to their doctor about effective birth control. Patients should tell their doctor right away if they become pregnant or think that they are pregnant during treatment with Rituxan
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Rituxan passes into the breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment and for at least 6 months after the last dose of Rituxan
- Are taking any medications, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements
What are the possible side effects of Rituxan?
Rituxan can cause serious side effects, including:
- Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. TLS can cause the patient to have:
- Kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Lack of energy
- Serious Infections: Serious infections can happen during and after treatment with Rituxan, and can lead to death. Rituxan can increase the patient’s risk of getting infections and can lower the ability of the patient’s immune system to fight infections. Types of serious infections that can happen with Rituxan include bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. After receiving Rituxan, some people have developed low levels of certain antibodies in their blood for a long period of time (longer than 11 months). Some of these patients with low antibody levels developed infections. People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan. Patients must tell their doctor right away if they have any symptoms of infection:
- Cold symptoms, such as runny nose or sore throat that do not go away
- Flu symptoms, such as cough, tiredness, and body aches
- Earache or headache
- Pain during urination
- Cold sores in the mouth or throat
- Cuts, scrapes, or incisions that are red, warm, swollen, or painful
- Heart Problems: Rituxan may cause chest pain, irregular heartbeats, and heart attack. The patient’s doctor may monitor the patient’s heart during and after treatment with Rituxan if they have symptoms of heart problems or have a history of heart problems. Patients must tell their doctor right away if they have chest pain or irregular heart-beats during treatment with Rituxan.
- Kidney Problems: especially if the patient is receiving Rituxan for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rituxan can cause severe kidney problems that lead to death. The patient’s doctor should do blood tests to check how well their kidneys are working.
- Stomach and Serious Bowel Problems That Can Sometimes Lead to Death: Bowel problems, including blockage or tears in the bowel can happen if the patient receives Rituxan with chemotherapy medicines. Patients must tell their doctor right away if they have any stomach-area (abdomen) pain or repeated vomiting during treatment with Rituxan.
The patient’s doctor will stop treatment with Rituxan if they have severe, serious, or life-threatening side effects.
What are the most common side effects during treatment with Rituxan?
- Infusion-related reactions
- Infections (may include fever, chills)
- Body aches
Other side effects include:
- Aching joints during or within hours of receiving an infusion
- More frequent upper respiratory tract infections
These are not all of the possible side effects with Rituxan.
Please see the Rituxan full Prescribing Information, including the Medication Guide, for additional Important Safety Information at www.Rituxan.com.
Report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. Report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
About Genentech in Hematology
For more than 20 years, Genentech has been developing medicines with the goal to redefine treatment in hematology. Today, we’re investing more than ever in our effort to bring innovative treatment options to people with diseases of the blood. For more information visit http://www.gene.com/hematology.
Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
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