U.S. FDA Approves BESREMi® (ropeginterferon alfa-2b-njft) as the Only Interferon for Adults With Polycythemia Vera

With deep, durable control demonstrated by over 7.5 years of clinical data, BESREMi® can be used at any point in the PV journey to support treatment goals1

Milestone represents PharmaEssentia’s first approved indication in the United States

BURLINGTON, MA, USA I November 12, 2021 IPharmaEssentia Corporation (TPEx: 6446), a global biopharmaceutical innovator based in Taiwan leveraging deep expertise and proven scientific principles to deliver new biologics in hematology and oncology, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved BESREMi® (ropeginterferon alfa-2b-njft) for the treatment of adults with polycythemia vera (PV).

“The FDA approval of BESREMi for people with polycythemia vera represents the next step in advancing patient care as it provides a critical addition to managing not only symptom burden and near-term complications, but also treating the cancer early, which may help reduce the risk of disease progression over time”

BESREMi is an innovative monopegylated, long-acting interferon, which exhibits its cellular effects in polycythemia vera in the bone marrow. BESREMi was approved with a boxed warning for risk of serious disorders including aggravation of neuropsychiatric, autoimmune, ischemic and infections disorders. PharmaEssentia is preparing to make BESREMi available in the coming weeks in the U.S.

PV is a rare, chronic and life-threatening blood cancer caused by a mutation in stem cells in the bone marrow, resulting in the overproduction of blood cells. When this occurs, it puts a person at risk for serious health problems, including blood clots, stroke and heart attack.2,3 Most cases are caused by a JAK2V617F mutation2,3 and, without proper management, this debilitating cancer can progress into myelofibrosis and malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia.4

“The FDA approval of BESREMi for people with polycythemia vera represents the next step in advancing patient care as it provides a critical addition to managing not only symptom burden and near-term complications, but also treating the cancer early, which may help reduce the risk of disease progression over time,” said Srdan Verstovsek, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Hanns A. Pielenz Clinical Research Center for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms, Department of Leukemia at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “With the availability of an FDA-approved, next-generation interferon for this indication, it’s time that we focus on preserving the long-term health of patients with polycythemia vera.”

“The reality of living with a rare and chronic cancer like polycythemia vera is that it is often underrecognized and the limited treatments available cannot properly address the disease beyond the symptoms. Our community welcomes the FDA approval of a new treatment that has the potential to deliver what has been unavailable for so many patients hoping for a better outlook,” said Ann Brazeau, CEO of MPN Advocacy and Education International.

The U.S. FDA approval was based on safety from the PEGINVERA and PROUD/ CONTINUATION-PV studies and efficacy data from the PEGINVERA clinical study program. The study showed that after 7.5 years of treatment with BESREMi, 61% of patients with PV experienced a complete hematological response (defined as hematocrit <45% without phlebotomy for at least 2 months since last phlebotomy, platelets ≤ 400 x 109/L, leukocytes ≤10 x 109/L, normal spleen size (longitudinal diameter ≤12 cm for females and ≤ 13 cm for males). Importantly, 80% of patients achieved a hematological response (based on objective laboratory parameters only, with the exclusion of normal spleen size and thrombosis). These parameters are the most commonly used metrics to make therapeutic decisions.1 In the pooled safety population of patients treated with BESREMi, the most common adverse reactions (incidence >40%) were influenza-like illness, arthralgia, fatigue, pruritis, nasopharyngitis, and musculoskeletal pain. Serious adverse reactions (incidence > 4%) were urinary tract infection, transient ischemic attack and depression.1

“We are incredibly proud to deliver on our goal of bringing treatments like BESREMi to the polycythemia vera community where there is clear unmet need for more effective, tolerable and durable treatments to preserve patients’ health and well-being,” said Ko-Chung Lin, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer for PharmaEssentia and inventor of ropeginterferon alfa-2b-njft. “As we begin working closely with the community to integrate this important treatment into clinical practice, we also continue to expand our scientific efforts to unlock the full potential of our pioneering molecule.”

About Polycythemia Vera

Polycythemia Vera (PV) is a cancer originating from a disease-initiating stem cell in the bone marrow resulting in a chronic increase of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This condition may result in cardiovascular complications such as thrombosis and embolism, as well as transformation to secondary myelofibrosis or leukemia. While the molecular mechanism underlying PV is still subject of intense research, current results point to a set of acquired mutations, the most important being a mutant form of JAK2.4

About BESREMi

BESREMi is an innovative monopegylated, long-acting interferon. With its unique pegylation technology, BESREMi has a long duration of activity in the body and is aimed to be administered once every two weeks or longer until hematologic parameters are stabilized, allowing flexible dosing that helps meet the individual needs of patients. After one year, patients with stable complete hematologic response (CHR) can be treated with BESREMi every four weeks.

BESREMi has orphan drug designation for treatment of PV in the United States. The product was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2019 and has received approval in Taiwan and South Korea. BESREMi was invented and is manufactured by PharmaEssentia.

Please see accompanying full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning.

INDICATION

BESREMi is indicated for the treatment of adults with polycythemia vera

About PharmaEssentia

PharmaEssentia Corporation (TPEx: 6446), based in Taipei, Taiwan, is a rapidly growing biopharmaceutical innovator. Leveraging deep expertise and proven scientific principles, the company aims to deliver effective new biologics for challenging diseases in the areas of hematology and oncology, with one approved product and a diversifying pipeline. Founded in 2003 by a team of Taiwanese-American executives and renowned scientists from U.S. biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, today the company is expanding its global presence with operations in the U.S., Japan, China, and Korea, along with a world-class biologics production facility in Taichung. For more information, visit our website or find us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

1 BESREMi Prescribing Information. PharmaEssentia 2021.
2 Mehta J, Wang H, Iqbal SU, Mesa R. Epidemiology of Myeloproliferative Neoplasms in the United States. Leuk Lymphoma. 2014 Mar;55(3):595-600.
3 Mesa R, et al. Patient-Reported Outcomes Data from REVEAL at the Time of Enrollment (Baseline): A Prospective Observational Study of Patients With Polycythemia Vera in the United States. Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2018 Sep;18(9):590-596. doi: 10.1016/j.clml.2018.05.020.
4 Cerquozzi S, Tefferi A. Blast Transformation and Fibrotic Progression in Polycythemia Vera and Essential Thrombocythemia: A Literature Review of Incidence and Risk Factors. Blood Cancer Journal (2015) 5, e366; doi:10.1038/bcj.2015.95.

SOURCE: PharmaEssentia

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