Healthcare Industry News:  kidney cancer 

Biopharmaceuticals Oncology Regulatory

 News Release - September 20, 2007

European Committee Issues Positive Opinion on Wyeth's TORISEL(TM) for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

European Committee Issues Negative Opinion on MYLOTARG(R) for Acute Myeloid Leukemia; Wyeth Plans to Appeal

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa., Sept. 20 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth (NYSE: WYE ), announced today that it has received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) for the approval of TORISEL(TM) (temsirolimus) as a first-line therapy for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) who have at least three of six prognostic risk factors. The CHMP's opinion for TORISEL will now be forwarded to the European Commission for final approval, anticipated in November 2007.

"The CHMP's positive opinion underscores the importance of TORISEL, which has been shown to extend median overall survival in patients with advanced kidney cancer when compared with interferon-alpha," says Robert R. Ruffolo, Ph.D., President, Wyeth Research. The expected European Commission approval for TORISEL will be its second major approval. The United States Food and Drug Administration granted TORISEL its first approval in May 2007.

TORISEL has an Orphan Medicinal Product designation in the European Union for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. About 85,700 new cases of kidney cancer were diagnosed in Europe in 2002, according to estimates from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and renal cell carcinoma accounts for about 85 percent of all kidney cancers.

The CHMP issued a negative opinion regarding the marketing authorization for MYLOTARG® (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) for re-induction treatment of CD33- positive acute myeloid leukemia (AML) adult patients in first relapse who are not candidates for other intensive re-induction chemotherapy regimens (e.g., high-dose ARA-C). Among reasons cited for its opinion, the CHMP said the three main clinical studies for MYLOTARG only showed a modest activity, since only a small proportion of the 277 patients enrolled achieved complete remission (where leukemia cells are no longer detected in the blood and are at very low levels in the bone marrow). In addition, the CHMP noted that there was no available information comparing the efficacy of MYLOTARG to other treatments. The CHMP also said it was difficult to judge the length of remission and effect on survival. Wyeth plans to request a re-examination of the negative opinion, in accordance with current European regulatory legislation.

"We believe that MYLOTARG is an important drug treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, and we will continue to work with the CHMP to address the committee's concerns and pursue a way forward," Dr. Ruffolo says. About 27,000 cases of AML will be diagnosed in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the United States and Japan in 2008.

About TORISEL(TM) (temsirolimus)

TORISEL was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2007 for the treatment of advanced RCC.

TORISEL specifically inhibits the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) kinase, an important regulator of cell proliferation, cell growth and cell survival. Inhibition of mTOR in treated cancer cells blocked the translation of genes that regulate the cell cycle. In in vitro studies using renal cancer cell lines, TORISEL inhibited the activity of mTOR and resulted in reduced levels of certain cell growth factors involved in the development of new blood vessels, such as vascular endothelial growth factor.

TORISEL U.S. Important Safety Information

Hypersensitivity reactions manifested by symptoms, including, but not limited to anaphylaxis, dyspnea, flushing, and chest pain have been observed with TORISEL.

Serum glucose, serum cholesterol, and triglycerides should be tested before and during treatment with TORISEL(TM) (temsirolimus).

The use of TORISEL is likely to result in hyperglycemia and hyperlipemia. This may result in the need for an increase in the dose of, or initiation of, insulin and/or oral hypoglycemic agent therapy and/or lipid-lowering agents, respectively.

The use of TORISEL may result in immunosuppression. Patients should be carefully observed for the occurrence of infections, including opportunistic infections.

Cases of interstitial lung disease, some resulting in death, have occurred. Some patients were asymptomatic and others presented with symptoms. Some patients required discontinuation of TORISEL and/or treatment with corticosteroids and/or antibiotics.

Cases of fatal bowel perforation occurred with TORISEL. These patients presented with fever, abdominal pain, metabolic acidosis, bloody stools, diarrhea, and/or acute abdomen.

Cases of rapidly progressive and sometimes fatal acute renal failure not clearly related to disease progression occurred in patients who received TORISEL.

Due to abnormal wound healing, use TORISEL with caution in the perioperative period.

Patients with central nervous system tumors (primary CNS tumor or metastases) and/or receiving anticoagulation therapy may be at an increased risk of developing intracerebral bleeding (including fatal outcomes) while receiving TORISEL(TM) (temsirolimus).

Live vaccinations and close contact with those who received live vaccines should be avoided.

Patients and their partners should be advised to avoid pregnancy throughout treatment and for 3 months after TORISEL therapy has stopped.

The most common (incidence greater than or equal to 30%) adverse reactions observed with TORISEL are: rash (47%), asthenia (51%), mucositis (41%), nausea (37%), edema (35%), and anorexia (32%). The most common laboratory abnormalities (incidence greater than or equal to 30%) are anemia (94%), hyperglycemia (89%), hyperlipemia (87%), hypertriglyceridemia (83%), elevated alkaline phosphatase (68%), elevated serum creatinine (57%), lymphopenia (53%), hypophosphatemia (49%), thrombocytopenia (40%), elevated AST (38%), and leukopenia (32%).

Most common grades 3/4 adverse events included asthenia (11%), dyspnea (9%), hemoglobin decreased (20%), lymphocytes decreased (16%), glucose increased (16%), phosphorus decreased (18%), and triglycerides increased (44%).

Strong inducers of CYP3A4/5 (eg, dexamethasone, rifampin) and strong inhibitors of CYP3A4 (eg, ketoconazole, atazanavir) may decrease and increase concentrations of the major metabolite of TORISEL, respectively. If alternatives cannot be used, dose modifications of TORISEL(TM) (temsirolimus) are recommended.

St. John's Wort may decrease TORISEL plasma concentrations, and grapefruit juice may increase plasma concentrations of the major metabolite of TORISEL, and therefore both should be avoided.

The combination of TORISEL and sunitinib resulted in dose-limiting toxicity.

Please see TORISEL full U.S. prescribing information at


MYLOTARG is indicated in the United States for the treatment of patients with CD33-positive acute myeloid leukemia in first relapse who are 60 years of age or older and who are not considered candidates for other cytotoxic chemotherapy. The safety and efficacy of MYLOTARG in patients with poor performance status and organ dysfunction has not been established.

The effectiveness of MYLOTARG is based on overall response rates. There are no controlled trials demonstrating a clinical benefit, such as improvement in disease-related symptoms or increased survival, compared to any other treatment.

MYLOTARG U.S. Important Safety Information

WARNINGS: MYLOTARG should be administered under the supervision of physicians experienced in the treatment of acute leukemia and in facilities equipped to monitor and treat leukemia patients. There are no controlled trials demonstrating efficacy and safety using MYLOTARG in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents. Therefore, MYLOTARG should only be used as single agent chemotherapy and not in combination chemotherapy regimens outside clinical trials. Severe myelosuppression occurs when MYLOTARG is used at recommended doses.

HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS INCLUDING ANAPHYLAXIS, INFUSION REACTIONS, PULMONARY EVENTS: MYLOTARG administration can result in severe hypersensitivity reactions (including anaphylaxis), and other infusion-related reactions which may include severe pulmonary events. Infrequently, hypersensitivity reactions and pulmonary events have been fatal. In most cases, infusion-related symptoms occurred during the infusion or within 24 hours of administration of MYLOTARG and resolved. MYLOTARG infusion should be interrupted for patients experiencing dyspnea or clinically significant hypotension. Patients should be monitored until signs and symptoms completely resolve. Discontinuation of MYLOTARG® (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) treatment should be strongly considered for patients who develop anaphylaxis, pulmonary edema, or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Since patients with high peripheral blast counts may be at greater risk for pulmonary events and tumor lysis syndrome, physicians should consider leukoreduction with hydroxyurea or leukapheresis to reduce the peripheral white count to below 30,000/microL prior to administration of MYLOTARG. (See WARNINGS.)

HEPATOTOXICITY: Hepatotoxicity, including severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), has been reported in association with the use of MYLOTARG as a single agent, as part of a combination chemotherapy regimen, and in patients without a history of liver disease or hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (HSCT). Patients who receive MYLOTARG either before or after HSCT, patients with underlying hepatic disease or abnormal liver function, and patients receiving MYLOTARG in combinations with other chemotherapy are at increased risk for developing VOD, including severe VOD. Death from liver failure and from VOD has been reported in patients who received MYLOTARG. Physicians should monitor their patients carefully for symptoms of hepatotoxicity, particularly VOD. These symptoms can include: rapid weight gain, right upper quadrant pain, hepatomegaly, ascites, elevations in bilirubin and/or liver enzymes. However, careful monitoring may not identify all patients at risk or prevent the complications of hepatotoxicity. (See WARNINGS and ADVERSE REACTIONS sections.)

MYLOTARG® (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to gemtuzumab ozogamicin or any of its components and in lactating mothers. MYLOTARG may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. The reported rate of Grade 3 or 4 thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, anemia, and bleeding were 99%, 98%, 52%, and 13%, respectively. Thirty percent of patients experienced severe infections, including sepsis (17%) and pneumonia (8%).

The most common adverse events (greater than or equal to 20%) were fever (82%), nausea (68%), chills (66%), vomiting (58%), thrombocytopenia (50%), leukopenia (47%), headache (37%), asthenia (36%), abdominal pain (32%), diarrhea (32%), epistaxis (28%), dyspnea (26%), hypokalemia (26%), sepsis (26%), anorexia (25%), stomatitis (25%), liver function tests abnormal (24%), constipation (23%), anemia (22%), local reaction (22%), herpes simplex (21%), and hypotension (20%).

MYLOTARG can produce a postinfusion symptom complex of fever and chills, and less commonly hypotension and dyspnea during the first 24 hours after administration. Patients should receive diphenhydramine 50 mg po and acetaminophen 650-1000 mg po 1 hour before MYLOTARG administration. Two additional doses of acetaminophen 650-1000 mg po every 4 hours may be given. Fever and chills were commonly reported despite premedication with diphenhydramine and acetaminophen. Vital signs should be monitored during infusion and for 4 hours following infusion. Methylprednisolone given prior to MYLOTARG® (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) infusion may ameliorate infusion-related symptoms.

Severe myelosuppression will occur in all patients given the recommended dose of this agent. Careful hematologic monitoring is required. Systemic infections should be treated.

Please see MYLOTARG full U.S. prescribing information at

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth, has leading products in the areas of women's health care, infectious disease, gastrointestinal health, central nervous system, inflammation, transplantation, hemophilia, oncology, vaccines and nutritional products.

Wyeth is one of the world's largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care products companies. It is a leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical, vaccines, biotechnology products and non-prescription medicines that improve the quality of life for people worldwide. The Company's major divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare and Fort Dodge Animal Health.

The statements in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements based on current expectations of future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include the inherent uncertainty of the timing and success of, and expense associated with, research, development, regulatory approval and commercialization of our products, including with respect to our pipeline products; government cost-containment initiatives; restrictions on third-party payments for our products; substantial competition in our industry, including from branded and generic products; data generated on our products; the importance of strong performance from our principal products and our anticipated new product introductions; the highly regulated nature of our business; product liability, intellectual property and other litigation risks and environmental liabilities; uncertainty regarding our intellectual property rights and those of others; difficulties associated with, and regulatory compliance with respect to, manufacturing of our products; risks associated with our strategic relationships; economic conditions including interest and currency exchange rate fluctuations; changes in generally accepted accounting principles; trade buying patterns; the impact of legislation and regulatory compliance; risks and uncertainties associated with global operations and sales; and other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in our periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our current reports on Form 8-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and annual report on Form 10-K, particularly the discussion under the caption "Item 1A, Risk Factors." The forward-looking statements in this press release are qualified by these risk factors. We assume no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

Source: Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

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