Celltrion and Teva Announce FDA Approval of TRUXIMA® (rituximab-abbs), a Biosimilar to RITUXAN®, for Three Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Indications
TRUXIMA® is the first rituximab biosimilar to be approved in the United States
Celltrion, Inc. (KRX:068270) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE and TASE: TEVA) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved TRUXIMA® (rituximab-abbs), a monoclonal antibody (mAb) biosimilar to RITUXAN®1 (rituximab) for the treatment of adult patients in three indications:
- Relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular, CD20-positive, B-cell non–Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) as a single agent.
- Previously untreated follicular, CD20-positive, B-cell NHL in combination with first line chemotherapy and, in patients achieving a complete or partial response to a rituximab product in combination with chemotherapy, as single-agent maintenance therapy.
- Non-progressing (including stable disease), low-grade, CD20-positive, B-cell NHL as a single agent after first-line cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone (CVP) chemotherapy.
“The approval of TRUXIMA is a significant milestone for Celltrion and, more notably, for the patients who need access to this important medication,” said Woosung Kee, Chief Executive Officer of Celltrion. “TRUXIMA is the very first rituximab biosimilar to be approved in the United States for three non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma indications and may help provide greater accessibility for patients.”
The FDA approval is based on a review of a comprehensive data package inclusive of foundational and extensive analytical characterization, nonclinical data, clinical pharmacology, immunogenicity, clinical efficacy, and safety data. The totality of evidence submitted for TRUXIMA demonstrated that there were no clinically meaningful differences in purity, potency and safety between TRUXIMA and RITUXAN for the three indications.
“This is an exciting time to be involved in the biosimilars space and we look forward to bringing the product to market,” said Brendan O’Grady, Executive Vice President and Head of North America Commercial at Teva. “There is a stronger focus than ever, particularly within oncology, on bringing greater value to the healthcare system through biosimilars increasing the number of treatment options.”
Please see the Important Safety Information below including the Boxed Warning regarding fatal infusion reactions, severe mucocutaneous reactions, hepatitis B virus reactivation and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.
Celltrion and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. entered into an exclusive partnership in October 2016 to commercialize TRUXIMA in the U.S. and Canada. Teva and Celltrion have reached a settlement agreement with Genentech, including entry terms. The terms and conditions of that agreement are confidential at this time.
Important Safety Information
WARNING: FATAL INFUSION REACTIONS, SEVERE MUCOCUTANEOUS REACTIONS, HEPATITIS B VIRUS REACTIVATION and PROGRESSIVE MULTIFOCAL LEUKOENCEPHALOPATHY
Infusion Reactions - Administration of rituximab products, including TRUXIMA, can result in serious, including fatal, infusion reactions. Deaths within 24 hours of rituximab infusion have occurred. Approximately 80% of fatal infusion reactions occurred in association with the first infusion. Monitor patients closely. Discontinue TRUXIMA infusion for severe reactions and provide medical treatment for Grade 3 or 4 infusion reactions
Severe Mucocutaneous Reactions - Severe, including fatal, mucocutaneous reactions can occur in patients receiving rituximab products
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation - HBV reactivation can occur in patients treated with rituximab products, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death. Screen all patients for HBV infection before treatment initiation, and monitor patients during and after treatment with TRUXIMA. Discontinue TRUXIMA and concomitant medications in the event of HBV reactivation
Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML), including fatal PML, can occur in patients receiving rituximab product
Infusion Reactions - Rituximab products can cause severe, including fatal, infusion-related reactions. Severe reactions typically occurred during the first infusion with time to onset of 30-120 minutes. Rituximab product -induced infusion reactions and sequelae include urticaria, hypotension, angioedema, hypoxia, bronchospasm, pulmonary infiltrates, acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocardial infarction, ventricular fibrillation, cardiogenic shock, anaphylactoid events, or death.
Premedicate patients with an antihistamine and acetaminophen prior to dosing. Institute medical management (e.g. glucocorticoids, epinephrine, bronchodilators, or oxygen) for infusion reactions as needed. Depending on the severity of the infusion reaction and the required interventions, temporarily or permanently discontinue TRUXIMA. Resume infusion at a minimum 50% reduction in rate after symptoms have resolved. Closely monitor the following patients: those with pre-existing cardiac or pulmonary conditions, those who experienced prior cardiopulmonary adverse reactions, and those with high numbers of circulating malignant cells (≥25,000/mm3)
Severe Mucocutaneous Reactions - Mucocutaneous reactions, some with fatal outcome, can occur in patients treated with TRUXIMA. These reactions include paraneoplastic pemphigus, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, lichenoid dermatitis, vesiculobullous dermatitis, and toxic epidermal necrolysis. The onset of these reactions has been variable and includes reports with onset on the first day of rituximab exposure. Discontinue TRUXIMA in patients who experience a severe mucocutaneous reaction. The safety of re-administration of TRUXIMA to patients with severe mucocutaneous reactions has not been determined.
Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation - Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs classified as CD20-directed cytolytic antibodies, including rituximab products. Cases have been reported in patients who are hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive and also in patients who are HBsAg negative but are hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) positive. Reactivation also has occurred in patients who appear to have resolved hepatitis B infection (i.e., HBsAg negative, anti-HBc positive and hepatitis B surface antibody [anti-HBs] positive).
HBV reactivation is defined as an abrupt increase in HBV replication manifesting as a rapid increase in serum HBV DNA levels or detection of HBsAg in a person who was previously HBsAg negative and anti-HBc positive. Reactivation of HBV replication is often followed by hepatitis, i.e., increase in transaminase levels. In severe cases increase in bilirubin levels, liver failure, and death can occur.
Screen all patients for HBV infection by measuring HBsAg and anti-HBc before initiating treatment with TRUXIMA. For patients who show evidence of prior hepatitis B infection (HBsAg positive [regardless of antibody status] or HBsAg negative but anti-HBc positive), consult with physicians with expertise in managing hepatitis B regarding monitoring and consideration for HBV antiviral therapy before and/or during TRUXIMA treatment.
Monitor patients with evidence of current or prior HBV infection for clinical and laboratory signs of hepatitis or HBV reactivation during and for several months following TRUXIMA therapy. HBV reactivation has been reported up to 24 months following completion of rituximab therapy.
In patients who develop reactivation of HBV while on TRUXIMA, immediately discontinue TRUXIMA and any concomitant chemotherapy, and institute appropriate treatment. Insufficient data exist regarding the safety of resuming TRUXIMA treatment in patients who develop HBV reactivation. Resumption of TRUXIMA treatment in patients whose HBV reactivation resolves should be discussed with physicians with expertise in managing HBV.
Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) - JC virus infection resulting in PML and JC virus infection resulting in PML and death can occur in rituximab product-treated patients with hematologic malignancies. The majority of patients with hematologic malignancies diagnosed with PML received rituximab in combination with chemotherapy or as part of a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Most cases of PML were diagnosed within 12 months of their last infusion of rituximab.
Consider the diagnosis of PML in any patient presenting with new-onset neurologic manifestations. Evaluation of PML includes, but is not limited to, consultation with a neurologist, brain MRI, and lumbar puncture.
Discontinue TRUXIMA and consider discontinuation or reduction of any concomitant chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy in patients who develop PML.
Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS) - Acute renal failure, hyperkalemia, hypocalcemia, hyperuricemia, or hyperphosphatemia from tumor lysis, sometimes fatal, can occur within 12-24 hours after the first infusion of rituximab products in patients with NHL. A high number of circulating malignant cells ( ≥25,000/mm3) or high tumor burden, confers a greater risk of TLS.
Administer aggressive intravenous hydration and anti-hyperuricemic therapy in patients at high risk for TLS. Correct electrolyte abnormalities, monitor renal function and fluid balance, and administer supportive care, including dialysis as indicated.
Infections - Serious, including fatal, bacterial, fungal, and new or reactivated viral infections can occur during and following the completion of rituximab product-based therapy. Infections have been reported in some patients with prolonged hypogammaglobulinemia (defined as hypogammaglobulinemia >11 months after rituximab exposure). New or reactivated viral infections included cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, parvovirus B19, varicella zoster virus, West Nile virus, and hepatitis B and C. Discontinue TRUXIMA for serious infections and institute appropriate anti-infective therapy. TRUXIMA is not recommended for use in patients with severe, active infections.
Cardiovascular Adverse Reactions - Cardiac adverse reactions, including ventricular fibrillation, myocardial infarction, and cardiogenic shock may occur in patients receiving rituximab products. Discontinue infusions for serious or life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Perform cardiac monitoring during and after all infusions of TRUXIMA for patients who develop clinically significant arrhythmias, or who have a history of arrhythmia or angina.
Renal Toxicity - Severe, including fatal, renal toxicity can occur after rituximab product administration in patients with NHL. Renal toxicity has occurred in patients who experience tumor lysis syndrome and in patients with NHL administered concomitant cisplatin therapy during clinical trials. The combination of cisplatin and a rituximab product is not an approved treatment regimen. Monitor closely for signs of renal failure and discontinue TRUXIMA in patients with a rising serum creatinine or oliguria.
Bowel Obstruction and Perforation - Abdominal pain, bowel obstruction and perforation, in some cases leading to death, can occur in patients receiving rituximab in combination with chemotherapy. In postmarketing reports, the mean time to documented gastrointestinal perforation was 6 (range 1-77) days in patients with NHL. Evaluate if symptoms of obstruction such as abdominal pain or repeated vomiting occur.
Immunization - The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines following rituximab product therapy has not been studied and vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended before or during treatment.
Embryo-Fetal Toxicity - Based on human data, rituximab products can cause fetal harm due to B-cell lymphocytopenia in infants exposed to rituximab in-utero. Advise pregnant women of the risk to a fetus. Females of childbearing potential should use effective contraception while receiving TRUXIMA and for 12 months following the last dose of TRUXIMA.
Most common adverse reactions in clinical trials of NHL (≥25%) were: infusion reactions, fever, lymphopenia, chills, infection and asthenia
There are no data on the presence of rituximab in human milk, the effect on the breastfed child, or the effect on milk production. Since many drugs including antibodies are present in human milk, advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during treatment and for at least 6 months after the last dose of TRUXIMA due to the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants.
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1 RITUXAN is a registered trademark of Biogen MA Inc.
About Celltrion, Inc.
Headquartered in Incheon, Korea, Celltrion is a leading biopharmaceutical company, specializing in research, development and manufacturing of biosimilar and innovative drugs. Celltrion strives to provide more affordable biosimilar mAbs to patients who previously had limited access to advanced therapeutics. Celltrion received FDA and EC’s approval for Inflectra® and Remsima®, respectively, which is the world’s first mAb biosimilar to receive approval from a regulatory agency in a developed country. For more information, visit www.celltrion.com.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is a global leader in generic medicines, with innovative treatments in select areas, including CNS, pain and respiratory. We deliver high-quality generic products and medicines in nearly every therapeutic area to address unmet patient needs. We have an established presence in generics, specialty, OTC and API, building on more than a century-old legacy, with a fully integrated R&D function, strong operational base and global infrastructure and scale. We strive to act in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Headquartered in Israel, with production and research facilities around the globe, we employ 45,000 professionals, committed to improving the lives of millions of patients. Learn more at www.tevapharm.com.
Teva Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding TRUXIMA®, which are based on management’s current beliefs and expectations and are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that could cause our future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from that expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include risks relating to:
- the uncertainty of commercial success of TRUXIMA, including the successful launch of the product;
- our ability to successfully compete in the marketplace, including: that we are substantially dependent on our generic products; competition for our specialty products, especially COPAXONE®, our leading medicine, which faces competition from existing and potential additional generic versions and orally-administered alternatives; competition from companies with greater resources and capabilities; efforts of pharmaceutical companies to limit the use of generics including through legislation and regulations; consolidation of our customer base and commercial alliances among our customers; the increase in the number of competitors targeting generic opportunities and seeking U.S. market exclusivity for generic versions of significant products; price erosion relating to our products, both from competing products and increased regulation; delays in launches of new products and our ability to achieve expected results from investments in our product pipeline; our ability to take advantage of high-value opportunities; the difficulty and expense of obtaining licenses to proprietary technologies; and the effectiveness of our patents and other measures to protect our intellectual property rights;
- our substantially increased indebtedness and significantly decreased cash on hand, which may limit our ability to incur additional indebtedness, engage in additional transactions or make new investments, may result in a further downgrade of our credit ratings; and our inability to raise debt or borrow funds in amounts or on terms that are favorable to us;
- our business and operations in general, including: failure to effectively execute our restructuring plan announced in December 2017; uncertainties related to, and failure to achieve, the potential benefits and success of our new senior management team and organizational structure; harm to our pipeline of future products due to the ongoing review of our R&D programs; our ability to develop and commercialize additional pharmaceutical products; potential additional adverse consequences following our resolution with the U.S. government of our FCPA investigation; compliance with sanctions and other trade control laws; manufacturing or quality control problems, which may damage our reputation for quality production and require costly remediation; interruptions in our supply chain; disruptions of our or third party information technology systems or breaches of our data security; the failure to recruit or retain key personnel; variations in intellectual property laws that may adversely affect our ability to manufacture our products; challenges associated with conducting business globally, including adverse effects of political or economic instability, major hostilities or terrorism; significant sales to a limited number of customers in our U.S. market; our ability to successfully bid for suitable acquisition targets or licensing opportunities, or to consummate and integrate acquisitions; and our prospects and opportunities for growth if we sell assets;
- compliance, regulatory and litigation matters, including: costs and delays resulting from the extensive governmental regulation to which we are subject; the effects of reforms in healthcare regulation and reductions in pharmaceutical pricing, reimbursement and coverage; governmental investigations into sales and marketing practices; potential liability for patent infringement; product liability claims; increased government scrutiny of our patent settlement agreements; failure to comply with complex Medicare and Medicaid reporting and payment obligations; and environmental risks;
- other financial and economic risks, including: our exposure to currency fluctuations and restrictions as well as credit risks; potential impairments of our intangible assets; potential significant increases in tax liabilities; and the effect on our overall effective tax rate of the termination or expiration of governmental programs or tax benefits, or of a change in our business;
- and other factors discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, including in the section captioned “Risk Factors,” and in our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at www.sec.gov and www.tevapharm.com. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or other information contained herein, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You are cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
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