Healthcare Industry News: infliximab
News Release - June 1, 2009
Cimzia(R) (certolizumab pegol) Provides Long-Term Remission and Response Rates in Infliximab-Refractory Crohn's PatientsCimzia® shows duration of response up to week 26 in moderate to severe Crohn's patients who failed the intravenous infusion treatment infliximab.
CHICAGO, June 1 -- (Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network) -- New data from the WELCOME study presented by UCB at the Digestive Disease Week meeting demonstrate that Cimzia® (certolizumab pegol) provides sustained symptom improvement with stable dosing through week 26 for adult patients suffering from moderate to severe Crohn's disease (CD) who are intolerant or no longer responding to Remicade® (infliximab). Cimzia® is approved for reducing signs and symptoms of moderate to severe Crohn's disease and maintaining clinical response in adult patients who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy. Cimzia is the only PEGylated anti-TNF alpha (Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha).
"These are important findings as Cimzia® shows an extended duration of response in an induction and maintenance clinical trial of Crohn's disease patients who have failed infliximab," said study investigator Douglas Wolf, M.D., Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates, Atlanta, GA. "The study demonstrates that Cimzia® is effective up to 26 weeks in this difficult to treat patient population."
The primary objective of WELCOME is to assess the clinical efficacy of Cimzia® (400 mg) at week 6 following an induction, in moderate to severe Crohn's disease patients who have previously received and responded but who no longer have a sustained response and/or tolerance to infliximab. Primary efficacy was defined as at least 100 points decrease in the Crohn's Disease Activity Index (CDAI) versus baseline at week 6. The trial demonstrated that after the induction period 62 percent of patients achieved response and 39 percent achieved remission. 33 percent responded to treatment by week 2 and 44 percent responded by week 4. By week 26, nearly a third of patients receiving Cimzia® (400 mg) subcutaneously every two or four weeks, respectively, achieved clinical remission as measured by the CDAI.
No new or unexpected safety signals were observed in this study. Adverse events were previously reported from the WELCOME study: the most common adverse events were headache, nasopharyngitis and nausea. The incidence of serious adverse events (SAEs) was seven percent and the most frequent SAEs involved gastrointestinal disorders (five percent) and infections and infestations (2 percent).
Additional data from the WELCOME study presented at DDW, includes:
- Health-related Quality of Life: Cimzia® (400 mg) administered at every two or four weeks similarly improved patient-reported health-related quality of life as measured by the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (a validated tool assessing bowel symptoms, systematic symptoms, emotional function and social function) by Week 26. (Abstract #S1058)
- Efficacy Independent of IFX Dosing: Cimzia® (400 mg) was efficacious in rapidly inducing a clinical response in the infliximab-refractory patient population regardless of the previous dosages of infliximab. (Abstract #S1064)
Recently, UCB announced that Cimzia® is now available to Crohn's patients in a pre-filled syringe, developed in partnership with OXO Good Grips® for subcutaneous self-administration once every four weeks after initial dosing. Cimzia®, manufactured by UCB, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on April 22, 2008.
The WELCOME study is a 539 patient Phase IIIb multicenter 26-Week trial Evaluating the clinical benefit and tolerability of certoLizumab pegol induCtiOn and Maintenance in patients suffering from Crohn's disease with prior loss of response or intolErance to infliximab. It consists of an open-label induction phase (400 mg of Cimzia® sub-cutaneously at weeks 0, 2 and 4) and a double-blind maintenance period (400 mg of Cimzia® every 2 or 4 weeks from Week 6). The primary endpoint was defined as the rate of response (defined as a decrease in CDAI score greater than or equal to 100 points from baseline) at week 6. Remission was defined as a CDAI score of less than or equal to 150 points. After the induction period, 62 percent of patients achieved response and 39 percent achieved remission. One-third of patients had responded to treatment by week 2 (33 percent) and more than forty percent (44 percent) had responded by Week 4.
About Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease is a chronic, progressive, destructive disorder that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, most commonly at the end of the small intestine (the ileum) and beginning of the large intestine (the colon). If not effectively treated, it may result in the need for surgery and hospitalization. Crohn's disease has been estimated to affect as many as half a million Americans. People with Crohn's can experience an ongoing cycle of flare-up and remission throughout their lives. Together with ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
About CIMZIA® (certolizumab pegol)
Cimzia® is the only PEGylated anti-TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor). Cimzia® has a high affinity for human TNF-alpha, selectively neutralising the pathophysiological effects of TNF-alpha. Over the past decade, TNF-alpha has emerged as a major target of basic research and clinical investigation. This cytokine plays a key role in mediating pathological inflammation, and excess TNF-alpha production has been directly implicated in a wide variety of diseases. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Cimzia® for reducing signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease and maintaining clinical response in adult patients with moderate to severe active disease who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy and for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. Cimzia® was approved in Switzerland for induction of a clinical response and for the maintenance of a clinical response and remission in patients with active Crohn's disease who have not responded adequately to conventional treatment in September 2007. UCB is also developing Cimzia® in other autoimmune disease indications. Cimzia® is a registered trademark of UCB PHARMA S.A.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Patients treated with CIMZIA are at an increased risk for developing serious infections that may lead to hospitalization or death. Most patients who developed these infections were taking concomitant immunosuppressants such as methotrexate or corticosteroids. CIMZIA should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection or sepsis. Reported infections include:
Active tuberculosis, including reactivation of latent tuberculosis. Patients with tuberculosis have frequently presented with disseminated or extrapulmonary disease. Patients should be tested for latent tuberculosis before CIMZIA use and during therapy. Treatment for latent infection should be initiated prior to CIMZIA use.
Invasive fungal infections, including histoplasmosis , coccidioidomycosis, candidiasis, aspergillosis, blastomycosis, and pneumocystosis. Patients with histoplasmosis or other invasive fungal infections may present with disseminated, rather than localized disease. Antigen and antibody testing for histoplasmosis may be negative in some patients with active infection. Empiric anti-fungal therapy should be considered in patients at risk for invasive fungal infections who develop severe systemic illness.
Bacterial, viral and other infections due to opportunistic pathogens.
The risks and benefits of treatment with CIMZIA should be carefully considered prior to initiating therapy in patients with chronic or recurrent infection. Patients should be closely monitored for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with CIMZIA, including the possible development of tuberculosis in patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating therapy.
Serious and sometimes fatal infection due to bacterial, mycobacterial, invasive fungal, viral or other opportunistic pathogens has been reported in patients receiving TNF-blocking agents. Among opportunistic infections, tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, aspergillosis, candidiasis, coccidioidomycosis, listeriosis, and pneumocystosis were the most common. Treatment with CIMZIA should not be initiated in patients with an active infection, including clinically important localized infections. The risks and benefits of treatment should be considered prior to initiating therapy in patients with chronic or recurrent infection, who have been exposed to tuberculosis, who have resided or traveled in areas of endemic tuberculosis or endemic mycoses, such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, or blastomycosis, or with underlying conditions that may predispose them to infection.
Patients should be evaluated for tuberculosis risk factors and tested for latent infection prior to initiating CIMZIA and periodically during therapy. Patients should be closely monitored for the development of signs and symptoms of infections during and after treatment with CIMZIA, including development of tuberculosis in patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating therapy. CIMZIA should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection or sepsis. Patients who develop a new infection during treatment with CIMZIA should be closely monitored, undergo a prompt and complete diagnostic workup appropriate for immunocompromised patients, and appropriate antimicrobial therapy should be initiated. Appropriate empiric antifungal therapy should also be considered while a diagnostic workup is performed for patients who develop a serious systemic illness and reside or travel in regions where mycoses are endemic.
During controlled and open-labeled portions of CIMZIA studies of Crohn's disease and other diseases, malignancies (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) were observed at a rate (95% confidence interval) of 0.5 (0.4, 0.7) per 100 patient-years among 4,650 CIMZIA-treated patients versus a rate of 0.6 (0.2, 1.7) per 100 patient-years among 1,319 placebo-treated patients. The size of the control group and limited duration of the controlled portions of the studies preclude the ability to draw firm conclusions. In studies of CIMZIA for Crohn's disease and other investigational uses, there was one case of lymphoma among 2,657 CIMZIA-treated patients and one case of Hodgkin lymphoma among 1,319 placebo-treated patients. In CIMZIA RA clinical trials (placebo-controlled and open label) a total of three cases of lymphoma were observed among 2,367 patients. This is approximately 2-fold higher than expected in the general population. Patients with RA, particularly those with highly active disease, are at a higher risk for the development of lymphoma. The potential role of TNF blocker therapy in the development of malignancies is not known.
Cases of worsening congestive heart failure (CHF) and new onset CHF have been reported with TNF blockers. CIMZIA has not been formally studied in patients with CHF. Exercise caution when using CIMZIA in patients who have heart failure and monitor them carefully.
Symptoms compatible with hypersensitivity reactions, including angioedema, dyspnea, hypotension, rash, serum sickness, and urticaria, have been reported rarely following CIMZIA administration. If such reactions occur, discontinue further administration of CIMZIA and institute appropriate therapy.
Use of TNF blockers, including CIMZIA, may increase the risk of reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients who are chronic carriers of this virus. Some cases have been fatal. Evaluate patients at risk for HBV infection for prior evidence of HBV infection before initiating CIMZIA therapy. Exercise caution in prescribing CIMZIA for patients identified as carriers of HBV. Patients who are carriers of HBV and require treatment with CIMZIA should be closely monitored for clinical and laboratory signs of active HBV infection throughout therapy and for several months following termination of therapy. In patients who develop HBV reactivation, discontinue CIMZIA and initiate effective anti-viral therapy with appropriate supportive treatment.
Use of TNF blockers, including CIMZIA, has been associated with rare cases of new onset or exacerbation of clinical symptoms and/or radiographic evidence of demyelinating disease. Rare cases of neurological disorders, including seizure disorder, optic neuritis, and peripheral neuropathy have been reported in patients treated with CIMZIA; the causal relationship to CIMZIA remains unclear. Exercise caution in considering the use of CIMZIA in patients with these disorders.
Rare reports of pancytopenia, including aplastic anemia, have been reported with TNF blockers. Medically significant cytopenia (e.g., leukopenia, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia) has been infrequently reported with CIMZIA. The causal relationship of these events to CIMZIA remains unclear. Advise all patients to seek immediate medical attention if they develop signs and symptoms suggestive of blood dyscrasias or infection (e.g., persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, pallor) while on CIMZIA. Consider discontinuation of CIMZIA therapy in patients with confirmed significant hematologic abnormalities.
An increased risk of serious infections has been seen in clinical trials of other TNF blocking agents used in combination with anakinra or abatacept. Formal drug interaction studies have not been performed with rituximab or natalizumab; however because of the nature of the adverse events seen with these combinations with TNF blocker therapy, similar toxicities may also result from the use of CIMZIA in these combinations. Therefore, the combination of CIMZIA with anakinra, abatacept, rituximab, or natalizumab is not recommended.
Treatment with CIMZIA may result in the formation of autoantibodies and, rarely, in the development of a lupus-like syndrome. Discontinue treatment if symptoms of lupus-like syndrome develop.
Do not administer live vaccines or attenuated vaccines concurrently with CIMZIA.
Interference with certain coagulation assays has been detected in patients treated with CIMZIA. There is no evidence that CIMZIA therapy has an effect on in vivo coagulation. CIMZIA may cause erroneously elevated aPTT assay results in patients without coagulation abnormalities.
In controlled Crohn's clinical trials, the most common adverse events that occurred in greater than or equal to 5% of CIMZIA patients (n=620) and more frequently than with placebo (n=614) were upper respiratory infection (20% CIMZIA, 13% placebo), urinary tract infection (7% CIMZIA, 6% placebo), and arthralgia (6% CIMZIA, 4% placebo). The proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions in the controlled clinical studies was 8% for CIMZIA and 7% for placebo.
In controlled RA clinical trials, the most common adverse events that occurred in greater than or equal to 3% of patients taking CIMZIA 200 mg every other week with concomitant methotrexate (n=640) and more frequently than with placebo with concomitant methotrexate (n=324) were upper respiratory tract infection (6% CIMZIA, 2% placebo), headache (5% CIMZIA, 4% placebo), hypertension (5% CIMZIA, 2% placebo), nasopharyngitis (5% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), back pain (4% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), pyrexia (3% CIMZIA, 2% placebo), pharyngitis (3% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), rash (3% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), acute bronchitis (3% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), fatigue (3% CIMZIA, 1% placebo). Hypertensive adverse reactions were observed more frequently in patients receiving CIMZIA than in controls. These adverse reactions occurred more frequently among patients with a baseline history of hypertension and among patients receiving concomitant corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Patients receiving CIMZIA 400mg as monotherapy every 4 weeks in RA controlled clinical trials had similar adverse reactions to those patients receiving CIMZIA 200mg every other week. The proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions in the controlled clinical studies was 5% for CIMZIA and 2.5% for placebo. Please see accompanying full prescribing information or visit www.Cimzia.com.
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing approximately 10 000 people in over 40 countries, UCB generated revenue of EUR 3.6 billion in 2008. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).
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