NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) today announced its investigational medicine venetoclax, an inhibitor of the B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) protein that is being developed in partnership with Genentech and Roche, has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in previously treated (relapsed/refractory) patients with the 17p deletion genetic mutation.
CLL is a slow-progressing cancer of the bone marrow and blood in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.1 CLL accounts for approximately one quarter of the new cases of leukemia diagnosed in the United States.2 Approximately 3-10 percent of CLL patients have 17p deletion at diagnosis, and it occurs in 30-50 percent of patients with relapsed/refractory CLL.3 The 17p deletion mutation is a genomic alteration in which a part of chromosome 17 is absent.4 The median life expectancy for CLL patients with 17p deletion is less than 2-3 years.5
"The Breakthrough Therapy Designation of venetoclax supports the continued development of this investigational medicine in CLL patients with 17p deletion," said Michael Severino, M.D., executive vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer, AbbVie. "The continuing advancement of the venetoclax development program is one example of AbbVie's focus on delivering innovative medicines that address unmet clinical needs."
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 includes preliminary clinical evidence demonstrating a drug may have substantial improvement on at least one clinically significant endpoint compared to available therapy. A Breakthrough Therapy Designation conveys all of the fast track program features, as well as more intensive FDA guidance on an efficient drug development program.
Additional information regarding the venetoclax clinical trials is available on www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Venetoclax is an investigational oral B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) inhibitor being evaluated for the treatment of patients with various cancer types. The BCL-2 protein prevents apoptosis of some cells, including lymphocytes, and can be expressed in some cancer types. Venetoclax is designed to selectively inhibit the function of the BCL-2 protein. Venetoclax is being developed in collaboration with Genentech and Roche. Together, the companies are committed to BCL-2 research with venetoclax, which is currently being evaluated in Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of CLL, along with studies in several other cancers. Venetoclax is an investigational compound and its safety and efficacy have not been evaluated by the FDA or any other health authority.
About AbbVie Oncology
AbbVie's oncology research is focused on the discovery and development of targeted therapies that work against the processes cancers need to survive. By investing in new technologies and approaches, AbbVie is breaking ground in some of the most widespread and difficult-to-treat cancers, including multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. AbbVie's oncology pipeline includes multiple new molecules in clinical trials being studied in more than 15 different cancers and tumor types. For more information on AbbVie's oncology portfolio, please visit http://oncology.abbvie.com.
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. AbbVie employs more than 26,000 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.
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, the likelihood that the transaction is consummated, the expected benefits of the transaction, 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.
1 American Cancer Society (2013) "Leukemia – Chronic Lymphocytic." http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003111-pdf.pdf.
2 American Cancer Society (2015) "Leukemia – Chronic Lymphocytic (CLL) Topics."
3 Schnaiter, A. et al. (2013) "17p Deletion in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Risk Stratification and Therapeutic Approach." Hematol Oncol Clin N Am 27 (2013) 289–301.
4 Selner, L. et al. (2013) "What Do We Do with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia with 17p Deletion?" Curr Hemetol Malig Rep. 8(1):81-90.
5 Stilgenbaur, S, and Zenz, T, (2010) "Understanding and Managing Ultra High-Risk Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia." ASH Education Book. 2010(1):481-488.