CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & OSAKA, Japan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for its investigational drug pevonedistat for the treatment of patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (HR-MDS). Pevonedistat, a first in class NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) inhibitor, could be the first novel treatment for HR-MDS patients in more than a decade, expanding treatment options that have so far been limited to hypomethylating agent (HMA) monotherapy alone. Even with current treatment options, outcomes for people living with HR-MDS remain poor.
The Breakthrough Therapy Designation is based on the final analysis of the Pevonedistat-2001 Phase 2 study, which evaluated pevonedistat plus azacitidine versus azacitidine alone in patients with rare leukemias, including HR-MDS. The FDA considered a number of endpoints, including overall survival (OS), event-free survival (EFS), complete remission (CR) and transfusion independence, as well as the adverse event profile. This designation signals a potential advancement in addressing the needs of people living with HR-MDS, for whom few therapies exist and the benefits are limited.
“Higher-risk MDS is associated with poor prognosis, diminished quality of life and a higher chance of transformation to acute myeloid leukemia, another aggressive cancer. The combination of pevonedistat and azacitidine is a promising therapeutic approach with the potential to be the first novel treatment advancement for higher-risk MDS in more than 10 years,” said Christopher Arendt, Head, Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit, Takeda. “We thank the FDA for recognizing pevonedistat, and the urgency to develop innovative therapies that address critical treatment needs for higher-risk MDS, a patient population with few options.”
Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the U.S. FDA is granted to accelerate the development and regulatory review of investigational drugs that are intended to treat serious or life-threatening ailments. Agents with this designation have shown preliminary clinical evidence that indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints.
Takeda presented results of the Pevonedistat-2001 trial during oral sessions at the virtual 56th American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting and virtual 25th European Hematology Association (EHA) Annual Congress.
Pevonedistat is a first in class NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) inhibitor. In pre-clinical studies, the inhibition of NAE by pevonedistat blocked the modification of select proteins, which resulted in disruption of cell cycle progression and cell survival, leading to cancer cell death. Pevonedistat in combination with azacitidine demonstrated promising clinical activity in a Phase 2 study of patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (HR-MDS), higher-risk chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (HR-CMML) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and a Phase 1 study of patients with AML. Pevonedistat is currently being evaluated in Phase 3 studies as a first-line treatment for patients with HR-MDS, HR-CMML and AML, who are ineligible (unfit) for transplant or intensive induction chemotherapy, and in a Phase 2 study in unfit AML in a triple combination with azacitidine and venetoclax. Pevonedistat is an investigational drug for which safety and efficacy have not been established.
MDS is a rare form of bone marrow-related cancer caused by irregular blood cell production within the bone marrow. This cancer most commonly affects older patients, with the median age of diagnosis ranging from 60 to 74 years. As a result of this irregular production, a person with MDS does not have enough normal red blood cells, white blood cells and/or platelets in circulation. Symptoms for MDS are often vague and related to low blood counts, and may include fatigue, shortness of breath, easy bruising or bleeding, loss of appetite, weakness, pale skin, fever and frequent or severe infections.
There are several classifications of MDS – very low-risk to very high-risk – determined by blood counts, blast counts, mutations and cytogenetics. Higher-risk disease is defined as intermediate, high or very high risk on the International Prognostic Scoring System – Revised (IPSS-R), and these patients have a poorer prognosis. Approximately 40% of patients with HR-MDS transform to AML, another aggressive cancer with poor outcomes.
Takeda’s Commitment to Oncology
Our core R&D mission is to deliver novel medicines to patients with cancer worldwide through our commitment to science, breakthrough innovation and passion for improving the lives of patients. Whether it’s with our hematology therapies, our robust pipeline, or solid tumor medicines, we aim to stay both innovative and competitive to bring patients the treatments they need. For more information, visit www.takedaoncology.com.
About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) is a global, values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader headquartered in Japan, committed to bringing Better Health and a Brighter Future to patients by translating science into highly-innovative medicines. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on four therapeutic areas: Oncology, Rare Diseases, Neuroscience, and Gastroenterology (GI). We also make targeted R&D investments in Plasma-Derived Therapies and Vaccines. We are focusing on developing highly innovative medicines that contribute to making a difference in people’s lives by advancing the frontier of new treatment options and leveraging our enhanced collaborative R&D engine and capabilities to create a robust, modality-diverse pipeline. Our employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients and to working with our partners in health care in approximately 80 countries.
For more information, visit https://www.takeda.com