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AbbVie Receives Positive CHMP Opinion for VENCLYXTO® (venetoclax) as a Combination Regimen for Adult Patients with Newly Diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia Who Are Ineligible for Intensive Chemotherapy

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- Positive opinion based on data from the VIALE-A and M14-358 trials, which evaluated the safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics of VENCLYXTO in combination with hypomethylating agents in adult patients with AML

- Represents the third positive CHMP opinion for an extension of indications for VENCLYXTO; supports growing utility of this therapy across multiple hematologic malignancies

- Acute myeloid leukemia is a difficult-to-treat blood cancer, and the most common type of acute leukemia in the world

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., April 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) adopted a positive opinion for VENCLYXTO® (venetoclax) in combination with hypomethylating agents for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy. The positive CHMP opinion is a scientific recommendation for marketing authorization to the European Commission (EC), which is expected to deliver its final decision on VENCLYXTO combination therapy for use in AML in the first half of 2021.

The positive CHMP opinion represents the third for an extension of indications for VENCLYXTO. The opinion is based on results from the double-blind, placebo-controlled VIALE-A (M15-656) and the Phase 1b open-label, nonrandomized, multicenter M14-358 trial.

"This positive CHMP opinion for VENCLYXTO in acute myeloid leukemia is a critical step to providing new therapeutic options in the European Union for patients with this devastating disease," said Mohamed Zaki, M.D., Ph.D., vice president and global head of oncology development at AbbVie. "Enabling improved outcomes including potentially prolonging the lives of patients with malignant diseases such as acute myeloid leukemia is part of our mission and an objective we pursue relentlessly every day."

AML is the most common acute leukemia in the world.1 An estimated 160,000 people are currently living with the disease globally. 1 The rate of new cases of acute myeloid leukemia is 4.3 per 100,000 men and women per year.3 It is also among the most difficult blood cancers to treat.2 Despite advances in available therapies and care, the five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with AML remains approximately 29 percent.3 AML typically worsens quickly, and due to age and comorbidities, not all patients can tolerate intensive chemotherapy.4

"AML is an incredibly aggressive form of cancer, and patients who are diagnosed with this disease are often so ill that they cannot tolerate the intensive chemotherapy that healthcare providers would typically prescribe," said Hartmut Döhner, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Director, Department of Hematology, Oncology, Palliative Care, Rheumatology and Infectious Diseases at University Hospital in Ulm, Germany. "VENCLYXTO combination therapy is a promising advancement for patients and their healthcare providers facing this challenging, lethal form of cancer."

Venetoclax is being developed by AbbVie and Roche. It is jointly commercialized by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the U.S. and by AbbVie outside of the U.S.

About the VENCLYXTO AML Clinical Trial Program
AbbVie's clinical trial program to evaluate VENCLYXTO combination therapy in patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who were ineligible for intensive chemotherapy included two studies conducted around the world.

VIALE-A (M15-656) Phase 3 Trial
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled VIALE-A (M15-656) trial evaluated the efficacy and safety of VENCLYXTO in combination with azacitidine in patients with newly diagnosed AML who were ineligible for intensive chemotherapy. The study met its primary endpoints of statistically significant improvement of overall survival (OS) and complete remission rate and complete remission with incomplete hematologic recovery (CR + CRi). OS was 14.7 months for the VENCLYXTO plus azacitidine arm versus 9.6 months in the placebo plus azacitidine arm. The study also met secondary endpoints, with the VENCLYXTO plus azacitidine arm resulting in a CR rate of 36.7 percent vs. 17.9 percent in the placebo plus azacitidine arm and a composite complete remission rate (CR + CRi) of 66.4 percent versus 28.3 percent. The safety profile of VENCLYXTO plus azacitidine was consistent with the known side-effect profiles of both agents, and adverse events (AEs) were consistent with expectations for an older AML population; no differences between the two treatment arms with respect to quality-of-life measures were seen. The most frequently reported serious AEs in the VENCLYXTO plus azacitidine arm and placebo plus azacitidine arm were febrile neutropenia (in 30 percent and 10 percent), pneumonia (in 17 percent and 22 percent), sepsis (in 6 percent and 8 percent), and haemorrhage (in 9 percent and 6 percent).5

M14-358 Phase 1b Trial
The non-randomized, open-label M14-358 trial evaluated VENCLYXTO in combination with azacitidine or decitabine in patients with newly diagnosed AML. The trial showed patients treated with VENCLYXTO in combination with azacitidine achieved a CR rate of 44 percent and a CR+CRi rate of 71 percent. The median duration of response for patients treated with VENCLYXTO in combination with azacitidine who achieve a CR or CRi was 21.9 months. Median time to first CR or CRi was 1.2 months (range: 0.7 to 7.7 months). Patients who received VENCLYXTO in combination with decitabine achieved a CR rate of 55 percent and a CR+CRi rate of 74 percent. The median duration of response for patients treated with VENCLYXTO in combination with decitabine who achieved a CR or CRi was 15 months. Median time to first CR or CRi was 1.9 months (range: 0.9 to 5.4 months). The most frequently reported serious AEs in patients receiving VENCLYXTO in combination with azacitidine were febrile neutropenia (31 percent) and pneumonia (26 percent). The most frequently reported serious AEs in patients receiving VENCLYXTO in combination with decitabine were febrile neutropenia (42 percent), pneumonia (29 percent), bacteraemia (16 percent) and sepsis (6 percent).6

About VENCLYXTO® (venetoclax)

VENCLYXTO® (venetoclax) is a first-in-class medicine that selectively binds and inhibits the B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) protein. In some blood cancers, BCL-2 prevents cancer cells from undergoing their natural death or self-destruction process, called apoptosis. VENCLYXTO targets the BCL-2 protein and works to help restore the process of apoptosis.

VENCLYXTO is being developed by AbbVie and Roche. It is jointly commercialized by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the U.S. and by AbbVie outside of the U.S. Together, the companies are committed to BCL-2 research and to studying venetoclax in clinical trials across several blood and other cancers. Venetoclax is approved in more than 80 countries, including the U.S.

Indication and Important VENCLYXTO (venetoclax) EU Safety Information7

Indication

Venclyxto in combination with obinutuzumab is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

Venclyxto in combination with rituximab is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with CLL who have received at least one prior therapy.

Venclyxto monotherapy is indicated for the treatment of CLL:

  • In the presence of 17p deletion or TP53 mutation in adult patients who are unsuitable for or have failed a B-cell receptor pathway inhibitor, or

  • In the absence of 17p deletion or TP53 mutation in adult patients who have failed both chemoimmunotherapy and a B-cell receptor pathway inhibitor.

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients is contraindicated. Concomitant use of strong CYP3A inhibitors at initiation and during the dose-titration phase due to increased risk for tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). Concomitant use of preparations containing St. John's wort as VENCLYXTO efficacy may be reduced.

Special Warnings & Precautions for Use

TLS, including fatal events, has occurred in patients with CLL when treated with VENCLYXTO.

Patients should be assessed for risk and should receive appropriate prophylaxis, monitoring, and management for TLS. The risk of TLS is a continuum based on multiple factors, including comorbidities. VENCLYXTO poses a risk for TLS in the initial 5-week dose-titration phase. Changes in electrolytes consistent with TLS that require prompt management can occur as early as 6 to 8 hours following the first dose of VENCLYXTO and at each dose increase.

Neutropenia (grade 3 or 4) has been reported and complete blood counts should be monitored throughout the treatment period.

Serious infections including sepsis with fatal outcome have been reported. Monitoring of any signs and symptoms of infection is required. Suspected infections should receive prompt treatment including antimicrobials and dose interruption or reduction as appropriate.

Live vaccines should not be administered during treatment or thereafter until B-cell recovery.

Drug Interactions

CYP3A inhibitors may increase VENCLYXTO plasma concentrations. At initiation and dose-titration phase: Strong CYP3A inhibitors are contraindicated due to increased risk for TLS and moderate CYP3A inhibitors should be avoided. If moderate CYP3A inhibitors must be used, physicians should refer to the SmPC for dose adjustment recommendations. At steady daily dose: moderate or strong CYP3A inhibitors must be used, physicians should refer to the VENCLYXTO summary of product characteristics (SmPC) for dose adjustment recommendations.

Avoid concomitant use of P-gp and BCRP inhibitors at initiation and during the dose titration phase.

CYP3A4 inducers may decrease VENCLYXTO plasma concentrations. Avoid coadministration with strong or moderate CYP3A inducers. These agents may decrease venetoclax plasma concentrations.

Co-administration of bile acid sequestrants with VENCLYXTO is not recommended as this may reduce the absorption of VENCLYXTO.

Adverse Reactions

The most commonly occurring adverse reactions (>=20%) of any grade in patients receiving venetoclax in the combination studies with obinutuzumab or rituximab were neutropenia, diarrhoea, and upper respiratory tract infection. In the monotherapy studies, the most common adverse reactions were neutropenia/neutrophil count decreased, diarrhoea, nausea, anaemia, fatigue, and upper respiratory tract infection.

The most frequently occurring serious adverse reactions (>=2%) in patients receiving venetoclax in combination with obinutuzumab or rituximab were pneumonia, sepsis, febrile neutropenia, and TLS. In the monotherapy studies, the most frequently reported serious adverse reactions (>=2%) were pneumonia and febrile neutropenia.

Discontinuations due to adverse reactions occurred in 16% of patients treated with venetoclax in combination with obinutuzumab or rituximab in the CLL14 and Murano studies, respectively. In the monotherapy studies with venetoclax, 11% of patients discontinued due to adverse reactions.

Dosage reductions due to adverse reactions occurred in 21% of patients treated with the combination of venetoclax and obinutuzumab in CLL14, in 15% of patients treated with the combination of venetoclax and rituximab in Murano, and in 14% of patients treated with venetoclax in the monotherapy studies. The most common adverse reaction that led to dose interruptions was neutropenia.

Specific Populations

Patients with reduced renal function (CrCl <80 mL/min) may require more intensive prophylaxis and monitoring to reduce the risk of TLS at initiation and during the dose-titration phase. Safety in patients with severe renal impairment (CrCl <30 mL/min) or on dialysis has not been established, and a recommended dose for these patients has not been determined.

For patients with severe (Child-Pugh C) hepatic impairment, a dose reduction of at least 50% throughout treatment is recommended.

VENCLYXTO may cause embryo-fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise nursing women to discontinue breastfeeding during treatment.

This is not a complete summary of all safety information. See VENCLYXTO (venetoclax) SmPC at www.ema.europa.eu. Globally, prescribing information varies; refer to the individual country product label for complete information.

About AbbVie in Oncology
At AbbVie, we are committed to transforming standards of care for multiple blood cancers while advancing a dynamic pipeline of investigational therapies across a range of cancer types. Our dedicated and experienced team joins forces with innovative partners to accelerate the delivery of potentially breakthrough medicines. We are evaluating more than 20 investigational medicines in over 300 clinical trials across some of the world's most widespread and debilitating cancers. As we work to have a remarkable impact on people's lives, we are committed to exploring solutions to help patients obtain access to our cancer medicines. For more information, please visit http://www.abbvie.com/oncology.

About AbbVie
AbbVie's mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people's lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women's health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statements
Some statements in this news release are, or may be considered, forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project" and similar expressions, among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. AbbVie cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, competition from other products, challenges to intellectual property, difficulties inherent in the research and development process, adverse litigation or government action, and changes to laws and regulations applicable to our industry. Additional information about the economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect AbbVie's operations is set forth in Item 1A, "Risk Factors," of AbbVie's 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AbbVie undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.

1 Puty, T.C., Sarraf, J.S., Do Carmo Almeida, T.C. et al. Evaluation of the impact of single-nucleotide polymorphisms on treatment response, survival and toxicity with cytarabine and anthracyclines in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia: a systematic review protocol. Syst Rev 8, 109 (2019).
2 American Cancer Society (2018). Typical Treatment of Most Types of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (Except Acute Promyelocytic M3). https://www.cancer.org/cancer/acute-myeloid-leukemia/treating/typical-treatment-of-aml.html.
3 National Cancer Institute (2018). Acute Myeloid Leukemia - SEER Stat Fact Sheets. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/amyl.html.
4 Pettit, K and Odenike, O. Defining and Treating Older Adults with Acute Myeloid Leukemia Who Are Ineligible for Intensive Therapies. Front Oncol. 2015; 5:250.
5 DiNardo, C.D., Jonas, B.A., et al. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Venetoclax With Azacitidine Vs. Azacitidine In Treatment-Naïve Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia Ineligible For Intensive Therapy: The Phase 3 VIALE-A Trial. (2020).
6 DiNardo CD, et al. Safety and preliminary efficacy of venetoclax with decitabine or azacitidine in elderly patients with previously untreated acute myeloid leukaemia: a non-randomised, open-label, phase 1b study. Lancet Oncol. 2018; 19(2):216-228.
7 Summary of Product Characteristics for VENCLYXTO (venetoclax). Ludwigshafen, Germany: AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG.

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