South San Francisco, CA — October 16, 2020 — Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted full approval of Venclexta (venetoclax) in combination with azacitidine, or decitabine, or low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) for the treatment of newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in adults 75 years or older, or who have comorbidities that preclude use of intensive induction chemotherapy. Venclexta was previously granted provisional approval in this setting under the FDA’s accelerated approval program in November 2018. Today’s FDA approval converts Venclexta’s accelerated approval in this setting to a full approval.
“Today’s full approval is supported by the significant results that showed that Venclexta in combination with azacitidine extended overall survival for people with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia who cannot tolerate intensive induction chemotherapy,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “We are very pleased that this application was reviewed under the FDA’s Real-Time Oncology Review pilot and Project Orbis initiative, helping to bring this treatment option more rapidly to patients in the United States and other countries.”
The approval is primarily based on the results of two Phase III studies, VIALE-A and VIALE-C. Results of the VIALE-A study, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2020, showed Venclexta plus azacitidine significantly reduced the risk of death by 34% (overall survival; OS) compared to azacitidine alone (median OS=14.7 months vs. 9.6 months; HR=0.66; 95% CI: 0.52-0.85; p<0.001). People treated with Venclexta plus azacitidine had significantly higher rates of complete remission (CR) with 37% (95% CI: 31-43) compared to 18% (95% CI: 12-25) in people treated with azacitidine alone (p<0.001). The Venclexta plus azacitidine combination also led to higher rates of CR and CR with partial hematologic recovery (CR + CRh), with the combination showing a CR + CRh of 65% compared to 23% with azacitidine alone (p<0.001). The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines recently recommended Venclexta plus azacitidine as a Category 1 Preferred AML treatment regimen for patients ineligible for intensive chemotherapy. The most frequent serious adverse reactions (≥5%), reported in 83% of people treated with Venclexta plus azacitidine, were low white blood cell count with fever (30%), pneumonia (22%), blood infection (excluding fungal; 19%) and bleeding (6%).
For the VIALE-C study, the approval was based on the rate and duration of CR. Twenty-seven percent (95% CI: 20-35) of people treated with Venclexta plus LDAC achieved a CR (median duration of CR (DOCR)=11.1 months) vs. 7.4% (95% CI: 2.4-16) of people treated with LDAC alone (median DOCR=8.3 months). The median OS for people treated with Venclexta plus LDAC was 7.2 months vs. 4.1 months (HR=0.75; 95% CI: 0.52-1.07; p=0.114) for people treated with LDAC alone. These OS results were not statistically significant. The most frequent serious adverse reactions (≥10%), reported in 65% of people treated with Venclexta plus LDAC, were pneumonia (17%), low white blood cell count with fever (16%), and blood infection (excluding fungal; 12%).
Updated results from additional Phase I/II studies of Venclexta in people with newly diagnosed AML were included in the FDA submissions as supporting data.
“The results of the VIALE-A study reinforce the clinically meaningful benefit of Venclexta plus azacitidine for people newly diagnosed with AML,” said Courtney DiNardo, M.D., associate professor of the Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Based on the results of this study, this treatment regimen represents a significant advance for older AML patients, including higher response rates, greater transfusion independence, longer durations of remission, and ultimately significantly improved overall survival compared to azacitidine alone.”
This is the second time that Venclexta has been reviewed under the FDA’s new Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) and Assessment Aid pilot programs. The RTOR pilot program explores a more efficient review process to ensure safe and effective treatments are available to patients as early as possible. The approval was also granted under the FDA’s recently established Project Orbis, which provides a framework for concurrent submission and review of oncology medicines among multiple regulatory agencies worldwide. Simultaneous applications were submitted to regulators in the United States, Australia, Canada, Brazil and Switzerland under Project Orbis. Additionally, the FDA has granted five Breakthrough Therapy Designations for Venclexta, two of which are for people with previously untreated AML ineligible for intensive chemotherapy.
Venclexta is being developed by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. It is jointly commercialized by the companies in the United States and commercialized by AbbVie outside of the United States.
About the VIALE-A Study
VIALE-A (NCT02993523) is a Phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Venclexta® (venetoclax) plus azacitidine, a hypomethylating agent, compared to placebo with azacitidine, in 431 people with previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy. Two-thirds of patients (n=286) received 400 mg Venclexta daily, in combination with azacitidine, and the remaining patients (n=145) received placebo tablets in combination with azacitidine. Patients enrolled in the study had a range of mutational subtypes, including IDH1/2 and FLT3. VIALE-A met its primary and key secondary endpoints.
About the VIALE-C Study
VIALE-C (NCT03069352) is a Phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Venclexta (venetoclax) plus LDAC, compared to placebo with LDAC, in 211 people with previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy. Two-thirds of patients (n=143) received 600 mg Venclexta daily in combination with LDAC and the remaining patients (n=68) received placebo in combination with LDAC.
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 2020, 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 intensive induction 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 help 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 United States and commercialized by AbbVie outside of the United States. 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 United States, Venclexta has been granted five Breakthrough Therapy Designations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: one for previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), two for relapsed or refractory CLL and two for previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia.
Venclexta is a prescription medicine used:
- to treat adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).
- 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.
About Genentech Access Solutions
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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.
Posted: October 2020
- AbbVie Announces US FDA Approval of Venclexta (venetoclax) as a Chemotherapy-Free Combination Regimen for Previously Untreated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients – May 15, 2019
- Genentech Announces FDA Grants Venclexta Accelerated Approval for People With Newly-Diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia or Those Who Are Ineligible For Intensive Induction Chemotherapy – November 21, 2018
- Genentech Announces FDA Approval for Venclexta Plus Rituxan for People With Previously Treated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia – June 8, 2018
- FDA Approves Venclexta (venetoclax) for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia with 17p Deletion – April 11, 2016
- FDA Grants Priority Review for Venetoclax New Drug Application – January 12, 2016
- Pivotal Phase II Study Showed Nearly 80 Percent of People with Hard-to-treat Type of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Responded to Investigational Medicine Venetoclax – December 6, 2015
Venclexta (venetoclax) FDA Approval History
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