Amgen Receives CHMP Positive Opinion To Expand Use Of BLINCYTO® (Blinatumomab) In Patients With Minimal Residual Disease-Positive B-Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

First and Only EU Marketing Authorization Application to Include Presence of Minimal Residual Disease

Application Based on Data From the Phase 2 BLAST Study, the Largest Prospective Trial in Minimal Residual Disease-Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

THOUSAND OAKS, CA, USA I November 16, 2018 I Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has adopted a positive opinion to expand the current indication for BLINCYTO® (blinatumomab) monotherapy to include adult patients with Philadelphia chromosome negative CD19 positive B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in first or second complete remission with minimal residual disease (MRD) greater than or equal to 0.1 percent. The application included data from the Phase 2 BLAST study in frontline and relapsed/refractory ALL, the largest prospective trial for MRD-positive ALL ever conducted. BLINCYTO, a bispecific CD19-directed CD3 T cell engager, is the first BiTE® immunotherapy to receive regulatory approval globally.

MRD refers to the presence of cancer cells that remain detectable, despite a patient having achieved complete remission by conventional assessment.1 MRD is only measurable through the use of highly sensitive testing methods that detect cancer cells in the bone marrow with a sensitivity of at least one cancer cell in 10,000 cells—versus about one in 20 with a conventional microscope-based evaluation.1-3

"The continued acknowledgment of MRD status as an approvable endpoint is an important step in the larger paradigm shift of ALL management as early intervention within the ALL treatment continuum has been shown to be an important step in eliminating dangerous detectable disease," said David M. Reese, M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. "We appreciate the efforts undertaken by the ALL community to work with regulators and other decision makers on the role of MRD in recurrence of disease and look forward to a final decision by the European Commission."

The CHMP opinion is based on data from the Phase 2 BLAST study, which found that BLINCYTO induced a complete MRD response, or no detectable MRD, in 78 percent of patients within one treatment cycle. Safety results among MRD-positive patients were consistent with the known safety profile of BLINCYTO in relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL. 

The CHMP positive opinion will now be reviewed by the European Commission (EC), which has the authority to approve medicines for the European Union (EU). Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, as members of the European Economic Area (EEA), will take corresponding decisions based on the decision of the EC. The CHMP previously adopted a negative opinion in July 2018 but revised the opinion following a re-examination request by Amgen.

In March 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved BLINCYTO for the treatment of adults and children with B-cell precursor ALL in first or second complete remission with MRD greater than or equal to 0.1 percent. BLINCYTO is the first immunotherapy from Amgen's BiTE® platform, an innovative approach that helps the body's immune system target cancer cells.

About the BLAST Study
The BLAST study is the largest ever prospective trial in patients with MRD-positive ALL. It is an open-label, multicenter, single-arm, Phase 2 study evaluating the efficacy, safety and tolerability of BLINCYTO in adult patients with MRD-positive B-cell precursor ALL in complete hematologic remission after three or more cycles of intensive chemotherapy. Patients received continuous IV infusion of BLINCYTO 15 μg/m2/d for four weeks, followed by two weeks off. Patients received up to four cycles of treatment and could undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation at any time after the first cycle, if eligible. Efficacy was based on achievement of undetectable MRD within one cycle of BLINCYTO treatment and hematological relapse-free survival (RFS). Additional secondary endpoints included incidence and severity of adverse events, overall survival (OS), time to hematological remission and duration of complete MRD response.

Results from the BLAST study were presented at the 57th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition in 2015 and published in Blood in 2018. Long-term OS data results from the BLAST study will also be featured in an oral presentation during the ASH 2018 Annual Meeting on Dec. 3.

About ALL and MRD
ALL is a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood and bone marrow that occurs in both adults and children.4,5 Poor outcomes have been observed in patients who achieve first or second complete hematologic remission but have persistent MRD, which remains detectable at the molecular level after treatment.1,6 Five-year OS rates are as high as 75 percent for patients that achieve MRD-negative status, compared with 33 percent among patients that remain MRD-positive.6 For more information about MRD, please visit   

About BiTE® Technology
Bispecific T cell engager (BiTE®) antibody construct is an innovative technology that can be engineered to target any tumor antigen expressed by any type of cancer. The protein molecules are designed to kill malignant cells using the patient's own immune system by bridging T cells to tumor cells. BiTE® antibody construct helps connect the T cells to the targeted cell, with the intent of causing T cells to inject toxins which trigger cancer cell death (apoptosis). Amgen is developing BiTE® antibody constructs to uniquely (or specifically) target numerous hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.

About BLINCYTO® (blinatumomab)
BLINCYTO is a bispecific CD19-directed CD3 T cell engager (BiTE®) immunotherapy that binds to CD19 expressed on the surface of cells of B-lineage origin and CD3 expressed on the surface of effector T cells. BLINCYTO was granted breakthrough therapy and priority review designations by the FDA in 2014, and carries full approval in the U.S. for the treatment of relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL in adults and children. In the U.S., BLINCYTO is also approved under accelerated approval for the treatment of adults and children with B-cell precursor ALL in first or second complete remission with MRD greater than or equal to 0.1 percent.

BLINCYTO is now approved in 57 countries, including all member countries in the European Union and the European Economic Area, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

About Amgen's Commitment to Oncology
Amgen Oncology is committed to helping patients take on some of the toughest cancers, such as those that have been resistant to drugs, those that progress rapidly through the body and those where limited treatment options exist. Amgen's supportive care treatments help patients combat certain side effects of strong chemotherapy, and our targeted medicines and immunotherapies focus on more than a dozen different malignancies, ranging from blood cancers to solid tumors. With decades of experience providing therapies for cancer patients, Amgen continues to grow its portfolio of innovative and biosimilar oncology medicines.

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About Amgen
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.

Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.

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  1. Paeitta E. Assessing minimal residual disease (MRD) in leukemia: a changing definition and concept? Bone Marrow Transplant. 2002;29:459-465
  2. Gökbuget N, et al. Adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and molecular failure display a poor prognosis and are candidates for stem cell transplantation and targeted therapies. Blood. 2012;120:1868-1876.
  3. Brüggemann M, et al. Has MRD monitoring superseded other prognostic factors in adult ALL? Blood. 2012;120:4470-4481.
  4. Cancer Research UK. About acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Accessed Nov. 1, 2018. 
  5. Mayo Clinic. Acute lymphocytic leukemia. Accessed Nov. 1, 2018.
  6. Bassan R, Spinelli O, Oldani E, et al. Improved risk classification for risk-specific therapy based on the molecular study of minimal residual disease (MRD) in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Blood. 2009:113: 4153-4162.


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