Intercept Receives Complete Response Letter from FDA for Obeticholic Acid for the Treatment of Fibrosis Due to NASH

NEW YORK, NY, USA I June 29, 2020 I Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ICPT), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat progressive non-viral liver diseases, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Complete Response Letter (CRL) regarding the New Drug Application (NDA) for obeticholic acid (OCA) for the treatment of fibrosis due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

The CRL indicated that, based on the data the FDA has reviewed to date, the Agency has determined that the predicted benefit of OCA based on a surrogate histopathologic endpoint remains uncertain and does not sufficiently outweigh the potential risks to support accelerated approval for the treatment of patients with liver fibrosis due to NASH. The FDA recommends that Intercept submit additional post-interim analysis efficacy and safety data from the ongoing REGENERATE study in support of potential accelerated approval and that the long-term outcomes phase of the study should continue.

“At no point during the review did the FDA communicate that OCA was not approvable on an accelerated basis, and we strongly believe that the totality of data submitted to date both meet the requirements of the Agency’s own guidance and clearly support the positive benefit-risk profile of OCA,” said Mark Pruzanski, M.D., President and CEO of Intercept. “We are disappointed to see the determination the Agency has reached based on an apparently incomplete review, and without having provided medical experts and patients the opportunity to be heard at the anticipated Adcom on the merits of OCA, which is a designated Breakthrough Therapy. The FDA has progressively increased the complexity of the histologic endpoints, creating a very high bar that only OCA has so far met in a pivotal Phase 3 study. On behalf of the hepatology community, we are very concerned that the Agency’s apparently still evolving expectations will make it exceedingly challenging to bring innovative therapies to NASH patients with high unmet medical need. We plan to meet as soon as possible with the FDA to review the CRL and discuss options for an efficient path forward to approval.” 

Intercept had previously disclosed that, based on the FDA’s decision to postpone a tentatively scheduled advisory committee meeting (Adcom), it was expected that the Agency’s review of its NDA would extend beyond the PDUFA goal date and that the FDA would move forward with rescheduling the Adcom.

The NDA submission for OCA is the first for NASH and was based on data from 35 clinical trials and more than 1,700 NASH patients treated with the drug. OCA is the only investigational NASH drug with Breakthrough Therapy designation and has uniquely demonstrated reproducible ability to reverse or otherwise stabilize liver fibrosis in patients with advanced fibrosis due to NASH. According to the FDA draft guidance for NASH fibrosis, of the histologic features of NASH, fibrosis is considered the strongest predictor of adverse clinical outcomes, including liver-related death. There is currently no approved therapy for this devastating disease, which has become a leading cause of liver failure and resulting poor clinical outcomes.

About Liver Fibrosis due to NASH

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a serious progressive liver disease caused by excessive fat accumulation in the liver that induces chronic inflammation, resulting in progressive fibrosis (scarring) that can lead to cirrhosis, eventual liver failure, cancer and death. Advanced fibrosis is associated with a substantially higher risk of liver-related morbidity and mortality in patients with NASH. In the United States, NASH is currently the second leading cause for liver transplantation overall, and in females, the leading cause. NASH is anticipated to become the leading indication for liver transplantation in Europe within the next decade. There are currently no medications approved for the treatment of NASH.

About Intercept

Intercept is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat progressive non-viral liver diseases, including primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Founded in 2002 in New York, Intercept has operations in the United States, Europe and Canada. For more information, please visit www.interceptpharma.com or connect with the company on Twitter and LinkedIn.

SOURCE: Intercept Pharmaceuticals

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