NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., May 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved EPKINLYTM (epcoritamab-bysp), as the first and only T-cell engaging bispecific antibody for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory (R/R) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), not otherwise specified (NOS), including DLBCL arising from indolent lymphoma, and high-grade B–cell lymphoma (HGBL), after two or more lines of systemic therapies. EPKINLY is approved under the FDA's Accelerated Approval program based on response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. EPKINLY is being co-developed by AbbVie and Genmab as part of the companies' oncology collaboration.
DLBCL is a type of aggressive, fast-growing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system and affects B cells, a type of white blood cell. DLBCL is the most common type of NHL, comprising of an estimated 30,400 U.S. cases in 2022 and 150,000 new cases each year globally. DLBCL patients are typically treated with chemoimmunotherapy-based regimens. For R/R patients, several targeted therapies including T-cell mediated treatments have recently emerged. However, single agent and ready-available or off-the-shelf treatment options are limited.1,2,3,4,5
"DLBCL is an aggressive cancer type that can rapidly progress and resist treatment. The FDA approval of EPKINLY represents a new treatment mechanism of action for third line DLBCL patients. As a non-chemotherapy, single-agent treatment for DLBCL patients, we hope that EPKINLY can effectively treat this aggressive cancer type and can be used for patient care quickly and in an off the shelf form for physicians," said Thomas Hudson, M.D., senior vice president, research and development, chief scientific officer, AbbVie. "The approval is just the first step, with our partner Genmab, towards a shared goal of developing a core therapy for patients with B-cell malignances."
AbbVie is committed to transforming standards of care across blood cancers and advancing a dynamic cancer research and treatment pipeline. EPKINLY marks the third approved blood cancer treatment available as part of AbbVie's growing oncology portfolio, as we strive to make a remarkable impact for people living with cancer.
"Patients with DLBCL who relapse or are refractory to currently available therapies have limited options. Generally, the prognosis for these patients is poor and management of this aggressive disease can be challenging," said Tycel Phillips, M.D., City of Hope Associate Professor, Division of Lymphoma, Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. "Epcoritamab is a subcutaneous bispecific antibody that offers an additional treatment option for this patient population. With this approval, patients who are in need of additional therapy may have the opportunity to receive epcoritamab after failure to respond or relapse after two or more systemic therapies."
"The FDA approval of EPKINLY represents a new treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphomas among patients who have relapsed or have refractory disease and are looking for a new medication," said Meghan Gutierrez, chief executive officer, Lymphoma Research Foundation.
Highlights of the Phase 1/2 EPCORE™ NHL-1 clinical trial supporting the approval:
- In the expansion cohort of the EPCORE NHL-1 trial, 148 patients with CD20+ DLBCL were enrolled, 86 percent of which were diagnosed with DLBCL NOS, including 27 percent with DLBCL transformed from indolent lymphoma, and 14 percent with HGBL. The median number of prior therapies was three (range: 2 to 11), with 30 percent receiving two prior therapies, 30 percent receiving three prior therapies, and 40 percent receiving four or more prior therapies. Eighteen percent had prior autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), and 39 percent had prior chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)T-cell therapy. Eighty-two percent of patients had disease refractory to last therapy and 29 percent of patients were refractory to CAR T-cell therapy.
- EPKINLY delivered an overall response rate of 61 percent, a complete response rate of 38 percent and median duration of response of 15.6 months in heavily pretreated R/R DLBCL patients.
- The prescribing information has a Boxed Warning for serious or life-threatening cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS). Warnings and precautions include infections, cytopenias, and embryo-fetal toxicity. The most common (≥ 20 percent) adverse reactions were CRS, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, injection site reactions, pyrexia, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Please see additional Important Safety Information, below.
About EPKINLYTM (epcoritamab-bysp)
EPKINLY is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with certain types of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and high-grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBL) that has come back (relapsed) or that did not respond to previous treatment (refractory), and who have received 2 or more treatments for their cancer. EPKINLY is approved based on patient response data. A study is ongoing to confirm the clinical benefit of EPKINLY. It is not known if EPKINLY is safe and effective in children.
EPKINLY is an IgG1-bispecific antibody created using Genmab's proprietary DuoBody® technology. Genmab's DuoBody-CD3 technology is designed to direct cytotoxic T cells selectively to elicit an immune response towards target cell types. It is designed to simultaneously bind to CD3 on T cells and CD20 on B-cells and induces T cell mediated killing of CD20+ cells.5,6,7,8
AbbVie and Genmab are evaluating EPKINLY as a monotherapy, and in combination, across multiple lines of therapy in a range of hematologic malignancies. This includes an ongoing Phase 3, open-label, randomized controlled trial evaluating EPKINLY as a monotherapy in patients with R/R DLBCL (NCT: 04628494) and two Phase 3, open-label, randomized controlled trials evaluating EPKINLY combination regimens in patients with newly diagnosed DLBCL (NCT: 05660967) and R/R follicular lymphoma (NCT: 05409066). The companies will share commercial responsibilities in the U.S. and Japan, with AbbVie responsible for further global commercialization. AbbVie will continue to pursue regulatory submissions for epcoritamab across international markets throughout the year.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Important Warnings—EPKINLY can cause serious side effects, including:
- Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS). CRS is common during treatment with EPKINLY and can be serious or life-threatening. Tell your healthcare provider or get medical help right away if you develop symptoms of CRS, including fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, dizziness or lightheadedness, trouble breathing, chills, fast heartbeat, feeling anxious, headache, confusion, shaking (tremors), or problems with balance and movement, such as trouble walking.
Due to the risk of CRS, you will receive EPKINLY on a "step-up" dosing schedule. The step-up dosing schedule is when you receive smaller "step-up" doses of EPKINLY on day 1 and day 8 of your first cycle of treatment (cycle 1). You will receive your first full dose of EPKINLY on day 15 of cycle 1. If your dose of EPKINLY is delayed for any reason, you may need to repeat the step-up dosing schedule. Before each dose in cycle 1, you will receive medicines to help reduce your risk of CRS. Your healthcare provider will decide if you need to receive medicine to help reduce your risk of CRS with future cycles.
- Neurologic problems. EPKINLY can cause serious neurologic problems that can be life-threatening and lead to death. Neurologic problems may happen days or weeks after you receive EPKINLY. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a healthcare provider who specializes in neurologic problems. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop any symptoms of neurologic problems, including trouble speaking or writing, confusion and disorientation, drowsiness, tiredness or lack of energy, muscle weakness, shaking (tremors), seizures, or memory loss.
Due to the risk of CRS and neurologic problems, you should be hospitalized for 24 hours after receiving your first full dose of EPKINLY on day 15 of cycle 1. Your healthcare provider will monitor you for symptoms of CRS and neurologic problems during treatment with EPKINLY, as well as other side effects, and treat you if needed. Your healthcare provider may temporarily stop or completely stop your treatment with EPKINLY if you develop CRS, neurologic problems, or any other side effects that are severe.
Do not drive or use heavy or potentially dangerous machinery if you develop dizziness, confusion, tremors, drowsiness, or any other symptoms that impair consciousness until your symptoms go away. These may be symptoms of CRS or neurologic problems.
EPKINLY can also cause other serious side effects, including:
- Infections. EPKINLY can cause serious infections that may lead to death. Your healthcare provider will check you for symptoms of infection before and during treatment. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop any symptoms of infection during treatment, including fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, cough, chest pain, tiredness, shortness of breath, painful rash, sore throat, pain during urination, or feeling weak or generally unwell.
- Low blood cell counts. Low blood cell counts are common during treatment with EPKINLY and can be serious or severe. Your healthcare provider will check your blood cell counts during treatment. EPKINLY may cause low blood cell counts, including low white blood cell counts (neutropenia), which can increase your risk for infection; low red blood cell counts (anemia), which can cause tiredness and shortness of breath; and low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia), which can cause bruising or bleeding problems.
Your healthcare provider may temporarily stop or completely stop treatment with EPKINLY if you develop certain side effects.
Before you receive EPKINLY, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
- have an infection.
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. EPKINLY may harm your unborn baby. Females who are able to become pregnant: Your healthcare provider should do a pregnancy test before you start treatment with EPKINLY. You should use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment and for 4 months after your last dose of EPKINLY. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant or think that you may be pregnant during treatment with EPKINLY.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if EPKINLY passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with EPKINLY and for 4 months after your last dose of EPKINLY.
Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
The most common side effects of EPKINLY include CRS, tiredness, muscle and bone pain, injection site reactions, fever, stomach-area (abdominal) pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
These are not all the possible side effects of EPKINLY. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You are encouraged to report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch or to Genmab US, Inc. at 1-855-4GENMAB (1-855-443-6622).
Please see Medication Guide, including Important Warnings.
About AbbVie in Oncology
At AbbVie, we are committed to transforming standards of care for multiple blood cancers while advancing a dynamic pipeline of investigational therapies across a range of cancer types. Our dedicated and experienced team joins forces with innovative partners to accelerate the delivery of potentially breakthrough medicines. We are evaluating more than 20 investigational medicines in over 300 clinical trials across some of the world's most widespread and debilitating cancers. As we work to have a remarkable impact on people's lives, we are committed to exploring solutions to help patients obtain access to our cancer medicines. For more information, please visit http://www.abbvie.com/oncology and our Blood Cancer Press Kit page.
AbbVie's mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people's lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across our Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Some statements in this news release are, or may be considered, forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project" and similar expressions and uses of future or conditional verbs, 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 expressed or implied 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," of AbbVie's 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as updated by its subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. AbbVie undertakes no obligation, and specifically declines, to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.
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