Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Polivy® (polatuzumab vedotin-piiq) in combination with Rituxan® (rituximab) plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone (R-CHP) for the treatment of people with previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The FDA is expected to make a decision on approval by April 2, 2023.
“The POLARIX study results suggest that Polivy plus R-CHP could transform the treatment of this aggressive malignancy, and we are working with the FDA to bring this combination to newly diagnosed DLBCL patients as soon as possible,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “We hope it will become the new standard of care for the first-line treatment of DLBCL, potentially reducing the need for subsequent treatments and limiting patient burden.”
DLBCL is an aggressive blood cancer. Although DLBCL often responds to initial treatment, it is not cured with the current standard of care in four out of 10 people. Most relapses occur within two years of starting treatment, and the majority of those who require subsequent lines of therapy have poor outcomes.
The sBLA is based on results from the pivotal Phase III POLARIX trial, which is the first in two decades to show a clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) compared to the current standard of care Rituxan plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP). The risk of disease progression, relapse or death was reduced by 27% with Polivy plus R-CHP compared with R-CHOP after a median follow-up of 28.2 months (hazard ratio [HR] 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.57–0.95; p<0.02). Safety outcomes were consistent with those seen in previous clinical trials, and the safety profile was comparable for Polivy plus R-CHP versus R-CHOP, including rates of Grade 3-4 adverse events (AEs; 57.7% versus 57.5%), serious AEs (34.0% versus 30.6%), Grade 5 AEs (3.0% versus 2.3%), and AEs leading to dose reduction (9.2% versus 13.0%).
Based on pivotal data from the POLARIX study, the European Commission approved Polivy in combination with R-CHP in May 2022 for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated DLBCL. Polivy is currently approved as a readily available, fixed-duration treatment option for relapsed or refractory (R/R) DLBCL in combination with bendamustine and Rituxan/Mabthera in more than 70 countries worldwide, including in the United States and in the EU.
Genentech continues to explore areas of unmet need where Polivy has the potential to deliver additional benefit, including in ongoing studies investigating combinations of Polivy with the company’s CD20xCD3 T-cell engaging bispecific antibodies mosunetuzumab and glofitamab, and with Rituxan in combination with gemcitabine and oxaliplatin in the Phase III POLARGO study.
About the POLARIX Study
POLARIX [NCT03274492] is an international Phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of Polivy® (polatuzumab vedotin-piiq) plus Rituxan® (rituximab), cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone (R-CHP) versus rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP) in people with previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Eight-hundred and seventy-nine patients were randomized 1:1 to receive either Polivy plus R-CHP plus a vincristine placebo for six cycles, followed by rituximab for two cycles; or R-CHOP plus a Polivy placebo for six cycles, followed by two cycles of rituximab. The primary outcome measure is progression-free survival (PFS) as assessed by the investigator using the Lugano Response Criteria for malignant lymphoma. POLARIX is being conducted in collaboration with The Lymphoma Study Association (LYSA) and The Lymphoma Academic Research Organisation (LYSARC). Other clinical investigators from around the world also participated in the trial.
About Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), accounting for about one in three cases of NHL. DLBCL is an aggressive (fast-growing) type of NHL. While it is generally responsive to treatment in the frontline, as many as 40% of people will relapse or have refractory disease, at which time salvage therapy options are limited and survival is short. Approximately 150,000 people worldwide are estimated to be diagnosed with DLBCL each year.
About Polivy® (polatuzumab vedotin-piiq)
Polivy is a first-in-class anti-CD79b antibody-drug conjugate (ADC). The CD79b protein is expressed specifically in the majority of B cells, an immune cell impacted in some types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), making it a promising target for the development of new therapies. Polivy binds to cancer cells such as CD79b and destroys these B cells through the delivery of an anti-cancer agent, which is thought to minimize the effects on normal cells. Polivy is being developed by Genentech using Seagen ADC technology and is currently being investigated for the treatment of several types of NHL.
Polivy U.S. Indication
Polivy is a prescription medicine used with other medicines, bendamustine and a rituximab product, to treat diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in adults who have progressed after at least two prior therapies.
The accelerated approval of Polivy is based on a type of response rate. There are ongoing studies to confirm the clinical benefit of Polivy.
Important Safety Information
Possible serious side effects
Everyone reacts differently to Polivy therapy, so it’s important to know what the side effects are. Some people who have been treated with Polivy have experienced serious to fatal side effects. A patient’s doctor may stop or adjust a patient’s treatment if any serious side effects occur. Patients must contact their healthcare team if there are any signs of these side effects.
Nerve problems in arms and legs: This may happen as early as after the first dose and may worsen with every dose. If a patient already has nerve pain, Polivy may make it worse. The patient’s doctor will monitor for signs and symptoms, such as changes in sense of touch, numbness or tingling in hands or feet, nerve pain, burning sensation, any muscle weakness, or changes to walking patterns
Infusion-related reactions: A patient may experience fever, chills, rash, breathing problems, low blood pressure, or hives within 24 hours of the infusion
Infections: Patients should contact their healthcare team if they experience a fever of 100.4°F or higher, chills, cough, or pain during urination. Also, a patient’s doctor may give medication before giving Polivy, which may prevent some infections, and monitor blood counts throughout treatment with Polivy. Treatment with Polivy can cause severe low blood cell counts
Rare and serious brain infections: A patient’s doctor will monitor the patient closely for signs and symptoms of these types of infections. Patients should contact their doctor if they experience confusion, dizziness or loss of balance, trouble talking or walking, or vision changes
Tumor lysis syndrome: Caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. Signs include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of energy
Potential harm to liver: Some signs include tiredness, weight loss, pain in the abdomen, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin or the white part of the eyes. Patients may be at higher risk if they already have liver problems or are taking other medication
Side effects seen most often
The most common side effects during treatment were:
Low blood cell counts (platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells)
Nerve problems in arms and legs
Tiredness or lack of energy
Polivy may not be for everyone. A patient should talk to their doctor if they are:
Pregnant or may be pregnant: Data have shown that Polivy may harm an unborn baby
Planning to become pregnant: Women should avoid getting pregnant while taking Polivy. Women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 3 months after their last Polivy treatment. Men taking Polivy should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 5 months after their last Polivy treatment
Breastfeeding: Women should not breastfeed while taking Polivy and for at least 2 months after the last dose
These may not be all the side effects. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider for more information about the benefits and risks of Polivy treatment.
Report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. Report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
Please visit http://www.Polivy.com for the full Prescribing Information for additional Important Safety Information.
About Genentech in Hematology
For more than 20 years, Genentech has been developing medicines with the goal to redefine treatment in hematology. Today, we’re investing more than ever in our effort to bring innovative treatment options to people with diseases of the blood. For more information visit http://www.gene.com/hematology.
Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
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