Healthcare Industry News: Multiple Myeloma
News Release - March 1, 2007
EMEA Accepts for Review Thalidomide Pharmion(R) Marketing Authorization Application for Untreated Multiple MyelomaMAA based on four Phase 3 studies in over 1400 patients
21 month survival advantage seen when Thalidomide added to standard of care
BOULDER, Colo., March 1 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Pharmion Corporation (Nasdaq: PHRM ) today announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has accepted for review the Company's Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for Thalidomide Pharmion (thalidomide) for the treatment of untreated Multiple Myeloma that was submitted in January 2007. The application is based upon a clinical data package comprised of four studies in more than 1400 patients, including a study that showed a 21 month survival advantage when Thalidomide was added to the standard of care.
"We believe that these data clearly demonstrate the value Thalidomide Pharmion provides patients with untreated multiple myeloma," said Patrick J. Mahaffy, President and CEO of Pharmion. "Based on these strong results, we believe that it is time that this widely used and critical therapy come under regulatory oversight to ensure equal and regulated access to its benefits throughout Europe."
Pharmion is seeking authorization for the following indications: Thalidomide Pharmion in combination with melphalan and prednisone for the treatment of patients with untreated Multiple Myeloma aged 65 years or older or ineligible for high dose chemotherapy and Thalidomide Pharmion in combination with dexamethasone for induction therapy prior to high dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant, for the treatment of patients with untreated multiple myeloma. Thalidomide Pharmion must be prescribed and dispensed through the Pharmion Risk Management Programme.
Multiple myeloma, the second most common cancer of the blood, affects approximately 82,000 people in the E.U., and approximately 25,000 people in the EU are diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma each year.
Thalidomide Pharmion has been designated as an Orphan Medicinal Product in the EU for the treatment of multiple myeloma, which, if approved, entitles the drug to ten years of market exclusivity for the approved indications.
Thalidomide Pharmion is approved in Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Israel, South Korea and Thailand for the treatment of Multiple Myeloma after the failure of standard therapies.
In markets where Thalidomide Pharmion is not approved, such as the E.U., Thalidomide Pharmion is currently provided on a named patient/compassionate use basis and under an Autorisation Temporaire d'Utilisation (ATU) in France while the Company seeks an approval. Pharmion is the only provider of thalidomide outside of the US with a comprehensive safety program in place. The Company holds exclusive marketing and distribution rights from Celgene Corporation for Thalidomide in markets outside of North America, Japan and certain other Asian countries. In May 2006, ThalomidŽ (thalidomide) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.
If Thalidomide is taken during pregnancy, it can cause severe birth defects or death to an unborn baby. A single dose (one capsule) taken by a pregnant woman during her pregnancy can cause severe birth defects. Thalidomide should never be used by women who are pregnant or could become pregnant. Male and female patients must follow the contraception measures in the Pharmion Risk Management Programme.
The common adverse reactions associated with the use of Thalidomide in combination with other anti-myeloma therapies are: deep vein thrombosis, constipation, peripheral oedema, tremor, dizziness, fatigue, asthenia, somnolence, peripheral neuropathy, neutropenia, lymphopenia, leucopenia, anaemia, thrombocytopenia, paraesthesia and dysaesthesia. Serious or severe reactions associated with Thalidomide use are: deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, bradycardia, cerebrovascular accident, peritonitis, orthostatic hypotension, and severe skin reactions including Stevens Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Thromboprophylaxis should be used when Thalidomide is prescribed in combination with other anti-myeloma therapies. Peripheral neuropathy is a potentially severe, adverse effect of treatment with Thalidomide that may result in irreversible damage. Thalidomide may also potentially aggravate existing neuropathy and should therefore not be used in patients with clinical signs or symptoms of peripheral neuropathy unless the clinical benefits outweigh the risks. Symptoms may occur some time after thalidomide treatment has been stopped and may resolve slowly or not at all. Thalidomide frequently causes drowsiness, somnolence and sedation. Patients should be instructed to avoid situations where drowsiness may be a problem.
About Multiple Myeloma: Multiple Myeloma (also known as myeloma or plasma cell myeloma) is a cancer of the blood in which malignant plasma cells are overproduced in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are white blood cells that help produce antibodies called immunoglobulins that fight infection and disease. However, most patients with Multiple Myeloma have cells that produce a form of immunoglobulin called paraprotein (or M protein) that does not benefit the body. In addition, the malignant plasma cells replace normal plasma cells and other white blood cells important to the immune system. Multiple Myeloma cells can also attach to other tissues of the body, such as bone, and produce tumors. The cause of the disease is unknown.
About Pharmion: Pharmion is a biopharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing innovative products for the treatment of hematology and oncology patients in the U.S., Europe and additional international markets. Pharmion has a number of products on the market including the world's first approved epigenetic drug, VidazaŽ, a DNA demethylating agent. For additional information about Pharmion, please visit the company's website at www.pharmion.com.
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This release contains forward-looking statements, which express the current beliefs and expectations of management. Such statements are based on current expectations and involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause Pharmion's future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the regulatory status and timing of regulatory approvals for Thalidomide; the impact of competition from other products sold by Pharmion's competitors in the E.U.; the regulatory environment and changes in the health policies and structure of various countries; acceptance and demand for new pharmaceutical products and new therapies, uncertainties regarding Pharmion's ability to enforce market exclusivities in member states of the E.U.; failure of third- party manufacturers to produce the product volumes required on a timely basis, fluctuations in currency exchange rates, and other factors that are discussed in Pharmion's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and Pharmion undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
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