European Medicines Agency Validates Application for BAVENCIO® (avelumab) Plus INLYTA® (axitinib) for the Treatment of Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Category: Antibodies
- Published on Friday, 08 March 2019 18:48
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March 08, 2019 I Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates its biopharmaceutical business as EMD Serono in the US and Canada, and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has validated for review the Type II variation application for BAVENCIO® (avelumab) in combination with INLYTA® (axitinib)* for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). With this validation, the application is complete, and the EMA will now begin the review procedure.
The application is based on results from the pivotal Phase III JAVELIN Renal 101 trial, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 16, 2019.
The US Food and Drug Administration has also accepted a supplemental Biologics License Application for BAVENCIO in combination with INLYTA for patients with advanced RCC for Priority Review, with a target action date in June 2019. A supplemental application for the combination in unresectable or metastatic RCC has also been submitted in Japan.
Despite available therapies, the outlook for patients with advanced RCC remains poor.1 Approximately 20% to 30% of patients are first diagnosed at the metastatic stage.2 The five-year survival rate for patients with metastatic RCC is approximately 12%.1
The clinical development program for avelumab, known as JAVELIN, involves at least 30 clinical programs and more than 9,000 patients evaluated across more than 15 different tumor types. In addition to RCC, these tumor types include breast, gastric/gastro-esophageal junction, and head and neck cancers, Merkel cell carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and urothelial carcinoma.
*The combination of BAVENCIO and INLYTA is under clinical investigation for advanced RCC, and there is no guarantee this combination will be approved for advanced RCC by any health authority worldwide. INLYTA is approved by the EMA for use in the EU in adult patients with advanced RCC after failure of prior treatment with sunitinib or a cytokine. In the US, INLYTA is approved as monotherapy for the treatment of advanced RCC after failure of one prior systemic therapy.
About Renal Cell Carcinoma
RCC is the most common form of kidney cancer, accounting for about 2% to 3% of all cancers in adults.3,4 The most common type of RCC is clear cell carcinoma, accounting for approximately 70% of all cases.3 About 115,174 kidney, renal pelvis and ureter cancers were diagnosed in Europe in 2012, accounting for 3.9% of all new cancer cases in Europe.5 An estimated 73,820 new cases of kidney cancer will be diagnosed in the US in 2019, and approximately 14,770 people will die from the disease.6
About BAVENCIO® (avelumab)
BAVENCIO is a human anti-programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) antibody. BAVENCIO has been shown in preclinical models to engage both the adaptive and innate immune functions. By blocking the interaction of PD-L1 with PD-1 receptors, BAVENCIO has been shown to release the suppression of the T cell-mediated antitumor immune response in preclinical models.7-9 BAVENCIO has also been shown to induce NK cell-mediated direct tumor cell lysis via antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) in vitro.9-11 In November 2014, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer announced a strategic alliance to co-develop and co-commercialize BAVENCIO.
Approved Indications in the US
In the US, the FDA granted accelerated approval for BAVENCIO for the treatment of (i) adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC) and (ii) patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy. These indications are approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for these indications may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.
BAVENCIO is currently approved for patients with MCC in more than 45 countries globally, with the majority of these approvals in a broad indication that is not limited to a specific line of treatment.
Alliance between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer Inc., New York, US
Immuno-oncology is a top priority for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer. The global strategic alliance between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer enables the companies to benefit from each other’s strengths and capabilities and further explore the therapeutic potential of BAVENCIO, an anti-PD-L1 antibody initially discovered and developed by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The immuno-oncology alliance is jointly developing and commercializing BAVENCIO. The alliance is focused on developing high-priority international clinical programs to investigate BAVENCIO as a monotherapy as well as combination regimens, and is striving to find new ways to treat cancer.
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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 51,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2017, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.
The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.
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- Motzer R, Penkov K, Haanen J, et al. Avelumab plus axitinib versus sunitinib for advanced renal-cell carcinoma. NEJM. February 16, 2019. Published online ahead of print.
- National Cancer Institute: SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Kidney and renal pelvis. Available from: http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/kidrp.html. Accessed February 2019.
- American Cancer Society. What is kidney cancer? Available from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/about.html. Accessed February 2019.
- Escudier B, Porta C, Schmidinger M et al Renal cell carcinoma: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annal Oncol. 2014; 25(Suppl3):iii49-iii56.
- American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures 2019. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2019/cancer-facts-and-figures-2019.pdf. Accessed February 2019.
- Ljungberg B, Campbell S and Cho H. The Epidemiology of Renal Cell Carcinoma. Eur Urol. 2011;60:615-621.
- Dolan DE, Gupta S. PD-1 pathway inhibitors: changing the landscape of cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Control. 2014;21(3):231-237.
- Dahan R, Sega E, Engelhardt J, Selby M, Korman AJ, Ravetch JV. FcγRs modulate the anti-tumor activity of antibodies targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis. Cancer Cell. 2015;28(3):285-295.
- Boyerinas B, Jochems C, Fantini M, et al. Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity activity of a novel anti-PD-L1 antibody avelumab (MSB0010718C) on human tumor cells. Cancer Immunol Res. 2015;3(10):1148-1157.
- Kohrt HE, Houot R, Marabelle A, et al. Combination strategies to enhance antitumor ADCC. Immunotherapy. 2012;4(5):511-527.
- Hamilton G, Rath B. Avelumab: combining immune checkpoint inhibition and antibody-dependent cytotoxicity. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2017;17(4):515-523.