United Therapeutics Announces Study of Unituxin® (dinutuximab) for Small Cell Lung Cancer Did Not Meet Primary Endpoint

SILVER SPRING, MD and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, USA I February 3, 2020 I United Therapeutics Corporation (Nasdaq: UTHR) today announced topline results from the phase 2/3 DISTINCT clinical study evaluating Unituxin® (dinutuximab) Injection added to irinotecan compared to irinotecan or topotecan alone in patients with relapsed or refractory small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The DISTINCT trial did not meet its primary efficacy objective of extending the overall survival with Unituxin and irinotecan versus using irinotecan alone. The safety profile of dinutuximab in DISTINCT was consistent with prior studies and the current Unituxin product label.

Full data from the DISTINCT study will be made available through scientific disclosure at upcoming conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.  

"We thank the principal investigators, patients and their families for participating in the DISTINCT study," said Gil Golden, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of United Therapeutics. "We're clearly disappointed with the DISTINCT results but we'll continue to seek out underappreciated avenues in our core therapeutic areas addressing rare diseases in oncology and pulmonary hypertension. In addition, we look forward to announcing the results of our INCREASE study by the end of the first quarter or shortly thereafter."

United Therapeutics is also pursuing a label expansion for Unituxin in combination with irinotecan and temozolomide for the treatment of pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma, based on results from the ANBL1221 study conducted by the Children's Oncology Group. United Therapeutics plans to meet with the FDA to discuss the proposed label expansion in the first half of 2020 and file a supplemental BLA shortly thereafter. 


DISTINCT was a phase 2/3, two-part, open-label, randomized, international, multi-center study of dinutuximab and irinotecan versus irinotecan for second line treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory small cell lung cancer. The phase 2 portion of the study of 12 patients was completed in October 2017. Global enrollment in the phase 3 portion of the study was completed in October 2018 with a total of 471 patients. Patients were randomized 2:2:1 into three arms: irinotecan (190 patients); irinotecan and dinutuximab (187 patients); or topotecan (94 patients). This event-driven study was conducted in 198 centers from 22 countries in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, with 312 observed deaths in the dinutuximab plus irinotecan and irinotecan alone groups as of the data extract used for analysis. The primary objective of this study was to compare overall survival (OS) in patients treated with dinutuximab and irinotecan versus patients treated with irinotecan alone as a second-line treatment for relapsed or refractory small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

The secondary objectives of the study were:

  • To compare progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR) (complete response [CR] + partial response [PR]), and clinical benefit rate (CR + PR + stable disease [SD]) in patients treated with dinutuximab and irinotecan to patients treated with irinotecan alone.
  • To compare the safety of patients treated with dinutuximab and irinotecan to patients treated with irinotecan alone.
  • To evaluate the pharmacokinetics (PK) of patients treated with dinutuximab.
  • To compare OS, PFS, ORR, and clinical benefit rate (CBR) in patients treated with dinutuximab and irinotecan to patients treated with topotecan alone.

The exploratory objective of the study was to assess the relationship between selected biomarkers and survival of patients treated with dinutuximab.

About Unituxin


Unituxin is a GD2-binding monoclonal antibody indicated, in combination with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-2 (IL-2), and 13-cis-retinoic acid (RA), for the treatment of pediatric patients with high-risk neuroblastoma who achieve at least a partial response to prior first-line multiagent, multimodality therapy.

About United Therapeutics

United Therapeutics Corporation focuses on the strength of a balanced, value-creating biotechnology model. We are confident in our future thanks to our fundamental attributes, namely our obsession with quality and innovation, the power of our brands, our entrepreneurial culture and our bioinformatics leadership. We also believe that our determination to be responsible citizens – having a positive impact on patients, the environment and society – will sustain our success in the long term.

Through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Lung Biotechnology PBC, we are focused on addressing the acute national shortage of transplantable lungs and other organs with a variety of technologies that either delay the need for such organs or expand the supply. Lung Biotechnology is the first public benefit corporation subsidiary of a public biotechnology or pharmaceutical company.

SOURCE: United Therapeutics

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