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FDA Approves Genentech’s Gazyva for Previously Untreated Advanced Follicular Lymphoma

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gazyva® (obinutuzumab) in combination with chemotherapy, followed by Gazyva alone in those who responded, for people with previously untreated advanced follicular lymphoma (stage II bulky, III or IV). The approval is based on results from the Phase III GALLIUM study, which showed superior progression-free survival (PFS) for patients who received this Gazyva-based regimen compared with those who received a Rituxan® (rituximab)-based regimen as an initial (first-line) therapy. Follicular lymphoma, the most common slow-growing (indolent) form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), is incurable and becomes harder to treat each time it returns.

“Today’s Gazyva approval is an important advance for the thousands of people diagnosed each year with follicular lymphoma who hope to delay disease progression for as long as possible,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “We’re pleased we can now offer patients with this incurable blood cancer an initial treatment option shown to improve upon Rituxan, the standard of care in this setting for more than 10 years.”

The GALLIUM study showed the Gazyva-based regimen significantly reduced the risk of disease worsening or death compared to a Rituxan-based regimen by 28 percent (PFS as assessed by independent review committee [IRC]; HR=0.72; 95 percent CI 0.56-0.93; p=0.0118). The most common Grade 3-5 side effects (occurring in at least 5 percent of patients) observed more frequently in the Gazyva arm were low white blood cell count, infusion reactions, low white blood cell count with fever and low platelet count. The most common side effects (occurring in at least 20 percent of patients) observed at least 2 percent more frequently in the Gazyva arm included infusion reactions, low white blood cell count, upper respiratory tract infection, cough, constipation and diarrhea.

Gazyva’s supplemental Biologics License Application based on the GALLIUM data was granted Priority Review, a designation given to medicines that the FDA has determined to have the potential to provide significant improvements in the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a disease. With this approval, Gazyva is available in the United States for three different indications across two common types of blood cancer.

About the GALLIUM Study

GALLIUM (NCT01332968) is a global Phase III open-label, multicenter, randomized two-arm study examining the efficacy and safety of Gazyva plus chemotherapy followed by Gazyva alone for up to two years, as compared head-to-head against Rituxan plus chemotherapy followed by Rituxan alone for up to two years. Chemotherapies used (CHOP, CVP or bendamustine) were selected by each participating study site prior to beginning enrollment. GALLIUM included 1,385 patients with previously untreated non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), of whom 1,202 patients had advanced follicular lymphoma (stage II bulky, III or IV). Efficacy results in follicular lymphoma with a median observation time of 38 months were the following:

Treatment arm

Gazyva + chemotherapy
(N=601)

Rituxan + chemotherapy
(N=601)

Median PFS*
(primary endpoint)

Not reached (NR)

NR
HR=0.72; 95% CI 0.56-0.93, p=0.0118

Overall Response Rate**
(ORR, secondary endpoint)

91% 88%

Complete Remission Rate**
(CR, secondary endpoint)

28% 27%
*As assessed by IRC; investigator-assessed PFS was consistent with these data
**After completion of combination therapy, assessed by CT without PET

Safety was evaluated based on 1,385 patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma (86 percent) or marginal zone lymphoma (14 percent). The most common Grade 3-5 side effects that occurred more often with Gazyva plus chemotherapy followed by Gazyva alone compared to Rituxan plus chemotherapy followed by Rituxan alone were low white blood cell count, infusion reactions, low white blood cell count with fever and low platelet count.

About Follicular Lymphoma

Follicular lymphoma is the most common slow-growing (indolent) form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), accounting for about one in five cases of NHL. It is considered incurable and characterized by periods of remission and relapse. The disease typically becomes harder to treat each time it returns, and early progression can be associated with poor long-term prognosis. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 14,000 new cases of follicular lymphoma will be diagnosed in 2017.

About Genentech Access Solutions

Access Solutions is part of Genentech’s commitment to helping people access the Genentech medicines they are prescribed, regardless of their ability to pay. The team of in-house specialists at Access Solutions is dedicated to helping people navigate the access and reimbursement process, and to providing assistance to eligible patients in the United States who are uninsured or cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs for their medicine. To date, the team has helped more than 1.5 million patients access the medicines they need. Please contact Access Solutions (866) 4ACCESS/(866) 422-2377 or visit http://www.Genentech-Access.com for more information.

About Gazyva

Gazyva is an engineered monoclonal antibody designed to attach to CD20, a protein found on certain types of B-cells. It is thought to work by attacking targeted cells both directly and together with the body’s immune system. Gazyva was discovered by Roche Glycart AG, a wholly owned, independent research unit of Roche. In the United States, Gazyva is part of a collaboration between Genentech and Biogen.

Combination studies investigating Gazyva with other approved or investigational medicines, including cancer immunotherapies and small molecule inhibitors, are underway across a range of blood cancers.

Gazyva Indications

Gazyva® (obinutuzumab) is a prescription medicine used:

  • With the chemotherapy drug, chlorambucil, to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in adults who have not had previous CLL treatment.
  • With the chemotherapy drug, bendamustine, followed by Gazyva alone for follicular lymphoma (FL) in adults who did not respond to a rituximab-containing regimen, or whose FL returned after such treatment.
  • With chemotherapy, followed by Gazyva alone in those who responded, to treat stage II bulky, III or IV FL in adults who have not had previous FL treatment.

Important Safety Information

The most important safety information patients should know about Gazyva

Patients must tell their doctor right away about any side effect they experience. Gazyva can cause side effects that can become serious or life threatening, including:

  • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV): Hepatitis B can cause liver failure and death. If the patient has a history of hepatitis B infection, Gazyva could cause it to return. Patients should not receive Gazyva if they have active hepatitis B liver disease. The patient’s doctor or healthcare team will need to screen them for hepatitis B before, and monitor the patient for hepatitis during and after, their treatment with Gazyva. Sometimes this will require treatment for hepatitis B. Symptoms of hepatitis include: worsening of fatigue and yellow discoloration of skin or eyes
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML is a rare and serious brain infection caused by a virus. PML can be fatal. The patient’s weakened immune system could put them at risk. The patient’s doctor will watch for symptoms. Symptoms of PML include: confusion, difficulty talking or walking, dizziness or loss of balance, and vision problems

Who should not receive Gazyva:

Patients should NOT receive Gazyva if they have had an allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis or serum sickness) to Gazyva. Patients must tell their healthcare provider if they have had an allergic reaction to obinutuzumab or any other ingredients in Gazyva in the past

Additional possible serious side effects of Gazyva:

Patients must tell their doctor right away about any side effect they experience. Gazyva can cause side effects that may become severe or life threatening, including:

  • Infusion Reactions: These side effects may occur during or within 24 hours of any Gazyva infusion. Some infusion reactions can be serious, including, but not limited to, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), acute life-threatening breathing problems, or other life-threatening infusion reactions. If the patient has a reaction, the infusion is either slowed or stopped until their symptoms are resolved. Most patients are able to complete infusions and receive medication again. However, if the infusion reaction is life threatening, the infusion of Gazyva will be permanently stopped. The patient’s healthcare team will take steps to help lessen any side effects the patient may have to the infusion process. The patient may be given medicines to take before each Gazyva treatment. Symptoms of infusion reactions may include: fast heartbeat, tiredness, dizziness, headache, redness of the face, nausea, chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and chest discomfort
  • Hypersensitivity Reactions Including Serum Sickness: Some patients receiving Gazyva may have severe or life-threatening allergic reactions. This reaction may be severe, may happen during or after an infusion, and may affect many areas of the body. If an allergic reaction occurs, the patient’s doctor will stop the infusion and permanently discontinue Gazyva.
  • Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): Tumor lysis syndrome, including fatal cases, has been reported in patients receiving Gazyva. Gazyva works to break down cancer cells quickly. As cancer cells break apart, their contents are released into the blood. These contents may cause damage to organs and the heart, and may lead to kidney failure requiring the need for dialysis treatment. The patient’s doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent TLS. The patient’s doctor will also conduct regular blood tests to check for TLS. Symptoms of TLS may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and tiredness
  • Infections: While the patient is taking Gazyva, they may develop infections. Some of these infections may be fatal and severe, so the patient should be sure to talk to their doctor if they think they have an infection. Patients administered Gazyva in combination with chemotherapy, followed by Gazyva alone are at a high risk of infections during and after treatment. Patients with a history of recurring or chronic infections may be at an increased risk of infection. Patients with an active infection should not be treated with Gazyva. Patients taking Gazyva plus bendamustine may be at higher risk for fatal or server infections compared to patients taking Gazyva plus CHOP or CVP
  • Low White Blood Cell Count: When the patient has an abnormally low count of infection-fighting white blood cells, it is called neutropenia. While the patient is taking Gazyva, their doctor will do blood work to check their white blood cell count. Severe and life-threatening neutropenia can develop during or after treatment with Gazyva. Some cases of neutropenia can last for more than one month. If the patient’s white blood cell count is low, their doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent infections
  • Low Platelet Count: Platelets help stop bleeding or blood loss. Gazyva may reduce the number of platelets the patient has in their blood; having low platelet count is called thrombocytopenia. This may affect the clotting process. While the patient is taking Gazyva, their doctor will do blood work to check their platelet count. Severe and life-threatening thrombocytopenia can develop during treatment with Gazyva. Fatal bleeding events have occurred in patients treated with Gazyva. If the patient’s platelet count gets too low, their treatment may be delayed or reduced

The most common side effects of Gazyva in CLL were infusion reactions, low white blood cell counts, low platelet counts, low red blood cell counts, fever, cough, nausea, and diarrhea

The safety of Gazyva was evaluated based on 392 patients with relapsed or refractory NHL, including FL (81 percent), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) (a disease for which Gazyva is not indicated), who did not respond to or progressed within 6 months of treatment with rituximab product or a rituximab product-containing regimen. In patients with follicular lymphoma, the profile of side effects that were seen were consistent with the overall population who had NHL. The most common side effects of Gazyva were infusion reactions, low white blood cell counts, nausea, fatigue, cough, diarrhea, constipation, fever, low platelet counts, vomiting, upper respiratory tract infection, decreased appetite, joint or muscle pain, sinusitis, low red blood cell counts, general weakness and urinary tract infection

A randomized, open-label multicenter trial (GALLIUM) evaluated the safety of Gazyva as compared to rituximab product in 1,385 patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma (86%) or marginal zone lymphoma (14%). The most common side effects of Gazyva were infusion reactions, low white blood cell count, upper respiratory tract infection, cough, constipation and diarrhea.

Before receiving Gazyva, patients should talk to their doctor about:

  • Immunizations: Before receiving Gazyva therapy, the patient should tell their healthcare provider if they have recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine. Patients who are treated with Gazyva should not receive live vaccines
  • Pregnancy: The patient should tell their doctor if they are pregnant, think that they might be pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Gazyva may harm their unborn baby. The patient should speak to their doctor about using Gazyva while they are pregnant. The patient should talk to their doctor or their child’s doctor about the safety and timing of live virus vaccinations to their infant if they received Gazyva during pregnancy. It is not known if Gazyva may pass into the patient’s breast milk. The patient should speak to their doctor about using Gazyva if they are breastfeeding

Patients should tell their doctor about any side effects.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Gazyva. For more information, patients should ask their doctor or pharmacist.

Gazyva is available by prescription only.

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.Gazyva.com for the Gazyva full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNINGS, for additional Important Safety Information.

Rituxan Indications

Rituxan® (rituximab) injection, for intravenous use, is indicated for the treatment of patients with:

  • Low-grade or follicular CD20-positive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a single-agent therapy in patients whose disease recurred or did not respond to initial treatment
  • Follicular CD20-positive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as an initial treatment with chemotherapy, and in patients whose initial treatment was successful, as a single-agent follow-up therapy
  • Low-grade CD20-positive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a single-agent follow-up therapy for patients who did not progress on initial treatment with CVP chemotherapy
  • CD20-positive diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as an initial treatment in combination with CHOP chemotherapy
  • CD20-positive chronic lymphocytic leukemia in combination with FC chemotherapy as an initial treatment or as a treatment after disease has recurred

People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan.

It is not known if Rituxan is safe or effective in children.

Important Safety Information:

Patients must tell their doctor right away about any side effects they experience. Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

  • Infusion Reactions: may occur during or within 24 hours of the infusion. The patient’s doctor should give the patient medicines before their treatment. Symptoms can include hives, rash, itching, facial or oral swelling, sudden cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, feeling faint, racing heart, or chest pain.
  • Severe Skin and Mouth Reactions: symptoms can include painful sores, ulcers, or blisters on the skin, lips or mouth; peeling skin; rash; or pustules.
  • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation: may cause serious liver problems including liver failure and death. If patients have had hepatitis B or are carriers of HBV, receiving Rituxan could cause the virus to become an active infection again. Patients should not receive Rituxan if they have active HBV liver disease. The patient’s doctor will do blood tests to check for HBV infection prior to treatment and will monitor the patient during and for several months following their treatment.
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): a rare, serious brain infection that can lead to severe disability and death and for which there is no known prevention, treatment or cure. Symptoms can include difficulty thinking, loss of balance, changes in speech or walking, weakness on one side of the body, or blurred or lost vision.

Additional possible serious side effects of Rituxan:

Patients must tell their doctor right away about any side effects they experience. Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:

  • Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): may cause kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment, abnormal heart rhythm, and can lead to death. The patient’s doctor may give the patient medicines before their treatment to help prevent TLS.
  • Serious Infections: can happen during and after treatment and can lead to death. These infections may be bacterial, fungal, or viral. Symptoms can include fever; cold or flu symptoms; earache or headache; pain during urination; white patches in the mouth or throat; cuts or scrapes that are red, warm, swollen or painful.
  • Heart Problems: symptoms can include chest pain and irregular heartbeats that may require treatment. The patient’s doctor may need to stop their treatment.
  • Kidney Problems: the patient’s doctor should do blood tests to check how well the patient’s kidneys are working.
  • Stomach and Serious Bowel Problems: can include blockage or tears in the bowel that can lead to death. Stomach area pain during treatment can be a symptom.
  • Low Blood Cell Counts: the patient’s blood cell counts may be monitored during treatment.

The most common side effects of Rituxan are infusion reactions, chills, infections, body aches, tiredness, and low white blood cells.

Other side effects with Rituxan include:

  • aching joints during or within hours of receiving an infusion
  • more frequent upper respiratory tract infection

Patients must tell their doctor if they are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. It is not known if Rituxan may harm the patient’s unborn baby or pass into the patient’s breast milk. Women should use birth control while using Rituxan and for 12 months after treatment.

Patients must tell their doctor about any side effect that bothers them or that does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of Rituxan. For more information, patients should ask their doctor or pharmacist.

Please visit http://www.Rituxan.com for the Rituxan full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNINGS and the Medication Guide, for additional Important Safety Information.

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.

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.

About Genentech

Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or 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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