– Positive Opinion Based on Landmark ZUMA-7 Study in Which 41% of Patients Demonstrated Event-Free Survival at Two Years versus 16% for Standard of Care -
Kite, a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD), today announces that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has issued a positive opinion for Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel) for adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and high-grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBL) that relapses within 12 months from completion of, or is refractory to, first-line chemoimmunotherapy. If approved, Yescarta will be the first Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved for patients in Europe who do not respond to first-line treatment. Although 60% of newly diagnosed LBCL patients will respond to their initial treatment, 40% will relapse or will not respond and need 2nd line treatment.
“At Kite, we are committed to bringing the curative potential of cell therapy to the world, and changing the way cancer is treated,” said Christi Shaw, CEO, Kite. “Today’s positive CHMP opinion brings us a step closer to utilizing cell therapy earlier in the treatment journey, potentially transforming the standard of care for the most common and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”
The European Commission will review the CHMP opinion, and a final decision on the marketing authorization is expected in the coming months.
“For people with DLBCL and HGBL who do not respond to first-line treatment or have an early relapse, outcomes are often poor and there are limited curative treatment options for these patients,” said Marie José Kersten, Professor of Hematology at Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam. “If approved, axicabtagene ciloleucel may offer a new standard of care for patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL and HGBL. Importantly, in a randomized trial of axicabtagene ciloleucel versus the current standard of care, quality of life also showed greater improvement in the experimental arm.”
The positive opinion for Yescarta is based on the primary results of the landmark Phase 3 ZUMA-7 study, the largest and longest trial of a CAR T-cell therapy versus standard of care (SOC) in second-line LBCL. Results demonstrated that at a median follow-up of two years, Yescarta-treated patients had a four-fold greater improvement in the primary endpoint of event-free survival (EFS; hazard ratio 0.40; 95% CI: 0.31-0.51, P<0.001) over the current SOC (8.3 months v 2.0 months). Additionally, Yescarta demonstrated a 2.5 fold increase in patients who were alive at two years without disease progression or need for additional cancer treatment vs SOC (41% v 16%). Improvements in EFS with Yescarta were consistent across key patient subgroups, including elderly patients (HR: 0.28 [95% CI: 0.16-0.46]), primary refractory patients (HR: 0.43 [95% CI: 0.32- 0.57]), high-grade B cell lymphoma including double-hit and triple-hit lymphoma patients (HGBL; HR: 0.28 [95% CI: 0.14-0.59]), and double expressor lymphoma patients (HR: 0.42 [95% CI: 0.27-0.67]).
In a separate, secondary analysis of Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs) published in Blood patients receiving Yescarta and eligible for the PROs portion of the study (n=165) showed statistically significant improvements in Quality of Life (QoL) at Day 100 compared with those who received SOC (n=131), using a pre-specified analysis for three PRO-domains (EORTC QLQ-C30 Physical Functioning, EORTC QLQ-C30 Global Health Status/QOL, and EQ-5D-5L visual analog scale [VAS]). There was also a trend toward faster recovery to baseline QoL in the Yescarta arm versus SOC.
In the ZUMA-7 trial, Yescarta had a manageable safety profile that was consistent with previous studies. Among the 170 Yescarta-treated patients evaluable for safety, Grade ≥3 cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurologic events were observed in 6% and 21% of patients, respectively. No Grade 5 CRS or neurologic events occurred. In the SOC arm, 83% of patients had high-grade events, mostly cytopenias (low blood counts).
ZUMA-7 is an ongoing, randomized, open-label, global, multicenter (US, Australia, Canada, Europe, Israel) Phase 3 study of 359 patients at 77 centers, evaluating the safety and efficacy of a single-infusion of Yescarta versus current SOC for second-line therapy (platinum-based salvage combination chemotherapy regimen followed by high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant in those who respond to salvage chemotherapy) in adult patients with relapsed or refractory LBCL within 12 months of first-line therapy. The primary endpoint is event free survival (EFS) as determined by blinded central review, and defined as the time from randomization to the earliest date of disease progression per Lugano Classification, commencement of new lymphoma therapy, or death from any cause. Key secondary endpoints include objective response rate (ORR) and overall survival (OS). Additional secondary endpoints include patient reported outcomes (PROs) and safety.
Yescarta was first approved in Europe in 2018 and is currently indicated for three types of blood cancer: Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL); Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma (PMBCL); and Follicular Lymphoma (FL). For the full European Prescribing Information, please visit: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/human/EPAR/yescarta
Please see full US Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING and Medication Guide.
YESCARTA is a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapy indicated for the treatment of:
- Adult patients with large B-cell lymphoma that is refractory to first-line chemoimmunotherapy or that relapses within 12 months of first-line chemoimmunotherapy.
Adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not otherwise specified, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, high-grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.
Limitations of Use: YESCARTA is not indicated for the treatment of patients with primary central nervous system lymphoma.
- Adult patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma (FL) after two or more lines of systemic therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on the response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trial(s).
U.S. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
BOXED WARNING: CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME AND NEUROLOGIC TOXICITIES
- Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving YESCARTA. Do not administer YESCARTA to patients with active infection or inflammatory disorders. Treat severe or life-threatening CRS with tocilizumab or tocilizumab and corticosteroids.
- Neurologic toxicities, including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving YESCARTA, including concurrently with CRS or after CRS resolution. Monitor for neurologic toxicities after treatment with YESCARTA. Provide supportive care and/or corticosteroids as needed.
- YESCARTA is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the YESCARTA and TECARTUS REMS Program.
CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME (CRS)
CRS, including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred. CRS occurred in 90% (379/422) of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), including ≥ Grade 3 in 9%. CRS occurred in 93% (256/276) of patients with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL), including ≥ Grade 3 in 9%. Among patients with LBCL who died after receiving YESCARTA, 4 had ongoing CRS events at the time of death. For patients with LBCL in ZUMA-1, the median time to onset of CRS was 2 days following infusion (range: 1-12 days) and the median duration was 7 days (range: 2-58 days). For patients with LBCL in ZUMA-7, the median time to onset of CRS was 3 days following infusion (range: 1-10 days) and the median duration was 7 days (range: 2-43 days). CRS occurred in 84% (123/146) of patients with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL) in ZUMA-5, including ≥ Grade 3 in 8%. Among patients with iNHL who died after receiving YESCARTA, 1 patient had an ongoing CRS event at the time of death. The median time to onset of CRS was 4 days (range: 1-20 days) and the median duration was 6 days (range: 1-27 days) for patients with iNHL.
Key manifestations of CRS (≥ 10%) in all patients combined included fever (85%), hypotension (40%), tachycardia (32%), chills (22%), hypoxia (20%), headache (15%), and fatigue (12%). Serious events that may be associated with CRS include cardiac arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia), renal insufficiency, cardiac failure, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, capillary leak syndrome, multi-organ failure, and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis/macrophage activation syndrome.
The impact of tocilizumab and/or corticosteroids on the incidence and severity of CRS was assessed in 2 subsequent cohorts of LBCL patients in ZUMA-1. Among patients who received tocilizumab and/or corticosteroids for ongoing Grade 1 events, CRS occurred in 93% (38/41), including 2% (1/41) with Grade 3 CRS; no patients experienced a Grade 4 or 5 event. The median time to onset of CRS was 2 days (range: 1-8 days) and the median duration of CRS was 7 days (range: 2-16 days). Prophylactic treatment with corticosteroids was administered to a cohort of 39 patients for 3 days beginning on the day of infusion of YESCARTA. Thirty-one of the 39 patients (79%) developed CRS and were managed with tocilizumab and/or therapeutic doses of corticosteroids with no patients developing ≥ Grade 3 CRS. The median time to onset of CRS was 5 days (range: 1-15 days) and the median duration of CRS was 4 days (range: 1-10 days). Although there is no known mechanistic explanation, consider the risk and benefits of prophylactic corticosteroids in the context of pre-existing comorbidities for the individual patient and the potential for the risk of Grade 4 and prolonged neurologic toxicities.
Ensure that 2 doses of tocilizumab are available prior to YESCARTA infusion. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of CRS at least daily for 7 days at the certified healthcare facility, and for 4 weeks thereafter. Counsel patients to seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms of CRS occur at any time. At the first sign of CRS, institute treatment with supportive care, tocilizumab, or tocilizumab and corticosteroids as indicated.
Neurologic toxicities (including immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome) that were fatal or life-threatening occurred. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 78% (330/422) of all patients with NHL receiving YESCARTA, including ≥ Grade 3 in 25%. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 87% (94/108) of patients with LBCL in ZUMA-1, including ≥ Grade 3 in 31% and in 74% (124/168) of patients in ZUMA-7 including ≥ Grade 3 in 25%. The median time to onset was 4 days (range: 1-43 days) and the median duration was 17 days for patients with LBCL in ZUMA-1. The median time to onset for neurologic toxicity was 5 days (range:1- 133 days) and the median duration was 15 days in patients with LBCL in ZUMA-7. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 77% (112/146) of patients with iNHL, including ≥ Grade 3 in 21%. The median time to onset was 6 days (range: 1-79 days) and the median duration was 16 days. Ninety-eight percent of all neurologic toxicities in patients with LBCL and 99% of all neurologic toxicities in patients with iNHL occurred within the first 8 weeks of YESCARTA infusion. Neurologic toxicities occurred within the first 7 days of infusion for 87% of affected patients with LBCL and 74% of affected patients with iNHL.
The most common neurologic toxicities (≥ 10%) in all patients combined included encephalopathy (50%), headache (43%), tremor (29%), dizziness (21%), aphasia (17%), delirium (15%), and insomnia (10%). Prolonged encephalopathy lasting up to 173 days was noted. Serious events, including aphasia, leukoencephalopathy, dysarthria, lethargy, and seizures occurred. Fatal and serious cases of cerebral edema and encephalopathy, including late-onset encephalopathy, have occurred.
The impact of tocilizumab and/or corticosteroids on the incidence and severity of neurologic toxicities was assessed in 2 subsequent cohorts of LBCL patients in ZUMA-1. Among patients who received corticosteroids at the onset of Grade 1 toxicities, neurologic toxicities occurred in 78% (32/41), and 20% (8/41) had Grade 3 neurologic toxicities; no patients experienced a Grade 4 or 5 event. The median time to onset of neurologic toxicities was 6 days (range: 1-93 days) with a median duration of 8 days (range: 1-144 days). Prophylactic treatment with corticosteroids was administered to a cohort of 39 patients for 3 days beginning on the day of infusion of YESCARTA. Of those patients, 85% (33/39) developed neurologic toxicities, 8% (3/39) developed Grade 3, and 5% (2/39) developed Grade 4 neurologic toxicities. The median time to onset of neurologic toxicities was 6 days (range: 1-274 days) with a median duration of 12 days (range: 1-107 days). Prophylactic corticosteroids for management of CRS and neurologic toxicities may result in a higher grade of neurologic toxicities or prolongation of neurologic toxicities, delay the onset of and decrease the duration of CRS.
Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of neurologic toxicities at least daily for 7 days at the certified healthcare facility, and for 4 weeks thereafter, and treat promptly.
Because of the risk of CRS and neurologic toxicities, YESCARTA is available only through a restricted program called the YESCARTA and TECARTUS REMS Program which requires that: Healthcare facilities that dispense and administer YESCARTA must be enrolled and comply with the REMS requirements and must have on-site, immediate access to a minimum of 2 doses of tocilizumab for each patient for infusion within 2 hours after YESCARTA infusion, if needed for treatment of CRS. Certified healthcare facilities must ensure that healthcare providers who prescribe, dispense, or administer YESCARTA are trained in the management of CRS and neurologic toxicities. Further information is available at www.YescartaTecartusREMS.com or 1-844-454-KITE (5483).
Allergic reactions, including serious hypersensitivity reactions or anaphylaxis, may occur with the infusion of YESCARTA.
Severe or life-threatening infections occurred. Infections (all grades) occurred in 45% of patients with NHL; ≥ Grade 3 infections occurred in 17% of patients, including ≥ Grade 3 infections with an unspecified pathogen in 12%, bacterial infections in 5%, viral infections in 3%, and fungal infections in 1%. YESCARTA should not be administered to patients with clinically significant active systemic infections. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection before and after infusion and treat appropriately. Administer prophylactic antimicrobials according to local guidelines.
Febrile neutropenia was observed in 36% of all patients with NHL and may be concurrent with CRS. In the event of febrile neutropenia, evaluate for infection and manage with broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluids, and other supportive care as medically indicated.
In immunosuppressed patients, including those who have received YESCARTA, life-threatening and fatal opportunistic infections including disseminated fungal infections (e.g., candida sepsis and aspergillus infections) and viral reactivation (e.g., human herpes virus-6 [HHV-6] encephalitis and JC virus progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy [PML]) have been reported. The possibility of HHV-6 encephalitis and PML should be considered in immunosuppressed patients with neurologic events and appropriate diagnostic evaluations should be performed.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs directed against B cells, including YESCARTA. Perform screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV in accordance with clinical guidelines before collection of cells for manufacturing.
Patients may exhibit cytopenias for several weeks following lymphodepleting chemotherapy and YESCARTA infusion. ≥ Grade 3 cytopenias not resolved by Day 30 following YESCARTA infusion occurred in 39% of all patients with NHL and included neutropenia (33%), thrombocytopenia (13%), and anemia (8%). Monitor blood counts after infusion.
B-cell aplasia and hypogammaglobulinemia can occur. Hypogammaglobulinemia was reported as an adverse reaction in 14% of all patients with NHL. Monitor immunoglobulin levels after treatment and manage using infection precautions, antibiotic prophylaxis, and immunoglobulin replacement. The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines during or following YESCARTA treatment has not been studied. Vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended for at least 6 weeks prior to the start of lymphodepleting chemotherapy, during YESCARTA treatment, and until immune recovery following treatment.
Secondary malignancies may develop. Monitor life-long for secondary malignancies. In the event that one occurs, contact Kite at 1-844-454-KITE (5483) to obtain instructions on patient samples to collect for testing.
EFFECTS ON ABILITY TO DRIVE AND USE MACHINES
Due to the potential for neurologic events, including altered mental status or seizures, patients are at risk for altered or decreased consciousness or coordination in the 8 weeks following YESCARTA infusion. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous occupations or activities, such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery, during this initial period.
The most common non-laboratory adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 20%) in patients with LBCL in ZUMA-7 included fever, CRS, fatigue, hypotension, encephalopathy, tachycardia, diarrhea, headache, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, febrile neutropenia, chills, cough, infection with an unspecified pathogen, dizziness, tremor, decreased appetite, edema, hypoxia, abdominal pain, aphasia, constipation, and vomiting.
The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 20%) in patients with LBCL in ZUMA-1 included CRS, fever, hypotension, encephalopathy, tachycardia, fatigue, headache, decreased appetite, chills, diarrhea, febrile neutropenia, infections with an unspecified, nausea, hypoxia, tremor, cough, vomiting, dizziness, constipation, and cardiac arrhythmias.
The most common non-laboratory adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 20%) in patients with iNHL in ZUMA-5 included fever, CRS, hypotension, encephalopathy, fatigue, headache, infections with an unspecified, tachycardia, febrile neutropenia, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, tremor, chills, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, cough, vomiting, hypoxia, arrhythmia, and dizziness.
Kite, a Gilead Company, is a global biopharmaceutical company based in Santa Monica, California, with manufacturing operations in North America and Europe. Kite’s singular focus is cell therapy to treat and potentially cure cancer. As the cell therapy leader, Kite has more approved CAR T indications to help more patients than any other company. For more information on Kite, please visit www.kitepharma.com. Follow Kite on social media on Twitter (@KitePharma) and LinkedIn.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the ability of Gilead and Kite to initiate, progress or complete clinical trials within currently anticipated timelines or at all, and the possibility of unfavorable results from ongoing and additional clinical trials, including those involving Yescarta; uncertainties relating to regulatory applications and related filing and approval timelines, including the risk that the European Commission may not grant marketing authorization for Yescarta for use in second-line DLBCL and HGBL in a timely manner or at all; the risk that any regulatory approvals, if granted, may be subject to significant limitations on use; the risk that physicians may not see the benefits of prescribing Yescarta for the treatment of LBCL; and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. These and other risks, uncertainties and other factors are described in detail in Gilead’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2022 as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and is cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Gilead and Kite, and Gilead and Kite assume no obligation and disclaim any intent to update any such forward-looking statements.
Kite, the Kite logo, Yescarta and GILEAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc. or its related companies.