• Updates are supported by data from the Phase 1/2 EPCORE™ NHL-1 clinical trial

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., Nov. 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) today announced updates from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) for epcoritamab, an investigational T-cell engaging bispecific antibody administered subcutaneously, for relapsed or refractory (R/R) follicular lymphoma (FL).

The FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) to epcoritamab-bysp (EPKINLY®) for the treatment of adult patients with R/R FL after two or more therapies. Additionally, the EMA has validated a Type II application for epcoritamab (TEPKINLY®) for the same indication. If approved, R/R FL would become the second conditionally approved indication for epcoritamab in the European Union.

"The FDA granted BTD and validated European application are an important step in our commitment to improving the lives of patients with relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma, a complex blood cancer with limited treatment options," said Mariana Cota Stirner, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, therapeutic area head for hematology, AbbVie. "Together with Genmab, we are continuing to investigate epcoritamab as a potential core therapy for multiple B-cell malignancies, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and now follicular lymphoma."

These updates were supported by previously announced results from the Phase 1/2 EPCORE™ NHL-1 clinical trial evaluating the safety and preliminary efficacy of subcutaneous epcoritamab in 128 adult patients with relapsed, progressive or refractory CD20+ mature B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), including FL. Data from the FL cohort of the trial, including an optimized dosing schedule allowing for outpatient administration, will be presented at the upcoming Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in December 2023.

BTD may expedite the development and review of investigational medicines by the FDA for serious or life-threatening diseases in cases where preliminary clinical evidence shows that a therapy may provide substantial improvements over available therapies.1 EMA validation confirms that the submitted regulatory application is complete and initiates the scientific review process by the EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).

FL is typically an indolent, or slow-growing, form of NHL that arises from B-cell lymphocytes.2 It is the second most common form of NHL overall, accounting for 20 percent to 30 percent of all NHL cases globally.3 Although FL is an indolent lymphoma, it is considered incurable with current standard of care therapies.4,5

Epcoritamab is being co-developed by AbbVie and Genmab as part of the companies' oncology collaboration. The companies will share commercial responsibilities in the U.S. and Japan, with AbbVie responsible for further global commercialization.

About the Phase 1/2 EPCORE™ NHL-1 Trial
EPCORE™ NHL-1 is an open-label, multi-center safety and preliminary efficacy trial of epcoritamab that consists of three parts: a Phase 1 first-in-human, dose escalation part; a Phase 2a expansion part; and a Phase 2a dose optimization part. The trial was designed to evaluate subcutaneous epcoritamab in adult patients with relapsed, progressive or refractory CD20+ mature B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), including follicular lymphoma (FL). In the Phase 2a expansion part, additional patients are being enrolled to further explore the safety and efficacy of epcoritamab in three cohorts of patients with different types of relapsed or refractory (R/R) B-cell NHLs who have limited therapeutic options. The dose optimization part evaluates the potential for alternative step-up dosing regimens to help further minimize Grade 2 cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and mitigate Grade ≥3 CRS. The application for BTD included additional data from this cohort of patients. The primary endpoint of the expansion part was overall response rate as assessed by an independent review committee. Secondary efficacy endpoints included duration of response, complete response rate, duration of complete response, progression-free survival, and time to response as determined by the Lugano criteria. Overall survival, time to next therapy, and rate of minimal residual disease negativity were also evaluated as secondary efficacy endpoints.

About Epcoritamab

Epcoritamab is an investigational IgG1-bispecific antibody created using Genmab's proprietary DuoBody® technology and administered subcutaneously. Genmab's DuoBody-CD3 technology is designed to direct cytotoxic T cells selectively to elicit an immune response toward target cell types. Epcoritamab is designed to simultaneously bind to CD3 on T cells and CD20 on B cells and induces T-cell-mediated killing of CD20+ cells.6

Epcoritamab (approved under the brand name EPKINLY® in the United States and TEPKINLY® in the European Union) has received regulatory approval in adults with certain types of large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL), including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), globally. EPKINLY is approved under the FDA's Accelerated Approval program based on response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. Use of epcoritamab in FL is not approved in the U.S. or in the EU. AbbVie will continue to pursue regulatory submissions for epcoritamab across international markets.

Genmab and AbbVie continue to evaluate the use of epcoritamab as a monotherapy, and in combination, across lines of therapy in a range of hematologic malignancies. This includes three ongoing Phase 3, open-label, randomized trials including a trial evaluating epcoritamab as a monotherapy in patients with R/R DLBCL (NCT: 04628494) compared to investigator's choice chemotherapy, a Phase 3 trial evaluating epcoritamab in combination with R-CHOP in adult patients with newly diagnosed DLBCL (NCT: 05578976), and a Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating epcoritamab in combination with rituximab and lenalidomide (R2) in patients with R/R FL (NCT: 05409066). Epcoritamab is not approved to treat patients with newly diagnosed DLBCL or with FL. The safety and efficacy of epcoritamab has not been established for these investigational uses. Please visit clinicaltrials.gov for more information.

EPKINLY® (epcoritamab-bysp) U.S. USES AND IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

USE

EPKINLY is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with certain types of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and high-grade B-cell lymphoma that has come back (relapsed) or that did not respond to previous treatment (refractory), and who have received 2 or more treatments for their cancer.

EPKINLY is approved based on patient response data. A study is ongoing to confirm the clinical benefit of EPKINLY. It is not known if EPKINLY is safe and effective in children.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Important Warnings—EPKINLY can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS). CRS is common during treatment with EPKINLY and can be serious or life-threatening. Tell your healthcare provider or get medical help right away if you develop symptoms of CRS, including fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, dizziness or lightheadedness, trouble breathing, chills, fast heartbeat, feeling anxious, headache, confusion, shaking (tremors), or problems with balance and movement, such as trouble walking.

    Due to the risk of CRS, you will receive EPKINLY on a "step-up" dosing schedule. The step-up dosing schedule is when you receive smaller "step-up" doses of EPKINLY on day 1 and day 8 of your first cycle of treatment (cycle 1). You will receive your first full dose of EPKINLY on day 15 of cycle 1. If your dose of EPKINLY is delayed for any reason, you may need to repeat the step-up dosing schedule. Before each dose in cycle 1, you will receive medicines to help reduce your risk of CRS. Your healthcare provider will decide if you need to receive medicine to help reduce your risk of CRS with future cycles.
     
  • Neurologic problems. EPKINLY can cause serious neurologic problems that can be life-threatening and lead to death. Neurologic problems may happen days or weeks after you receive EPKINLY. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a healthcare provider who specializes in neurologic problems. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop any symptoms of neurologic problems, including trouble speaking or writing, confusion and disorientation, drowsiness, tiredness or lack of energy, muscle weakness, shaking (tremors), seizures, or memory loss.

Due to the risk of CRS and neurologic problems, you should be hospitalized for 24 hours after receiving your first full dose of EPKINLY on day 15 of cycle 1. Your healthcare provider will monitor you for symptoms of CRS and neurologic problems during treatment with EPKINLY, as well as other side effects, and treat you if needed. Your healthcare provider may temporarily stop or completely stop your treatment with EPKINLY if you develop CRS, neurologic problems, or any other side effects that are severe.

Do not drive or use heavy or potentially dangerous machinery if you develop dizziness, confusion, tremors, drowsiness, or any other symptoms that impair consciousness until your symptoms go away. These may be symptoms of CRS or neurologic problems.

EPKINLY can also cause other serious side effects, including:

  • Infections. EPKINLY can cause serious infections that may lead to death. Your healthcare provider will check you for symptoms of infection before and during treatment. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop any symptoms of infection during treatment, including fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, cough, chest pain, tiredness, shortness of breath, painful rash, sore throat, pain during urination, or feeling weak or generally unwell.
  • Low blood cell counts. Low blood cell counts are common during treatment with EPKINLY and can be serious or severe. Your healthcare provider will check your blood cell counts during treatment. EPKINLY may cause low blood cell counts, including low white blood cell counts (neutropenia), which can increase your risk for infection; low red blood cell counts (anemia), which can cause tiredness and shortness of breath; and low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia), which can cause bruising or bleeding problems.

Your healthcare provider may temporarily stop or completely stop treatment with EPKINLY if you develop certain side effects.

Before you receive EPKINLY, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have an infection.
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. EPKINLY may harm your unborn baby. Females who are able to become pregnant: Your healthcare provider should do a pregnancy test before you start treatment with EPKINLY. You should use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment and for 4 months after your last dose of EPKINLY. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant or think that you may be pregnant during treatment with EPKINLY.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if EPKINLY passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with EPKINLY and for 4 months after your last dose of EPKINLY.

Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

The most common side effects of EPKINLY include CRS, tiredness, muscle and bone pain, injection site reactions, fever, stomach-area (abdominal) pain, nausea, and diarrhea.

These are not all the possible side effects of EPKINLY. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You are encouraged to report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch or to Genmab US, Inc. at 1-855-4GENMAB (1-855-443-6622).

Please see the Full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide, including Important Warnings.

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 potential 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 www.abbvie.com/oncology and our Blood Cancer Press Kit page.

About AbbVie 

AbbVie's mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines and solutions 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, and eye care – and products and services in our Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube.

AbbVie 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 and uses of future or conditional verbs, 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 expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, challenges to intellectual property, competition from other products, 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 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as updated by its subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. AbbVie undertakes no obligation, and specifically declines, to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.

1 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Breakthrough Therapy. https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/food-and-drug-administration-safety-and-innovation-act-fdasia/frequently-asked-questions-breakthrough-therapies. Accessed November 2023.

2 What is Lymphoma? Lymphoma Research Foundation. https://lymphoma.org/aboutlymphoma/nhl/fl/. Accessed November 2023.

3 Ma S. Risk factors of follicular lymphoma. Expert Opin Med Diagn. 2012;6:323-333. DOI: 10.1517/17530059.2012.686996.

4 Link BK, Day BM, Zhou X, et al. Second-Line and Subsequent Therapy and Outcomes for Follicular Lymphoma in the United States: Data From the Observational National LymphoCare Study. Br J Haematol. 2019;184(4):660-663. DOI: 10.1111/bjh.15149.

5 Ren J, Asche CV, Shou Y, Galaznik A. Economic Burden and Treatment Patterns for Patients With Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma and Follicular Lymphoma in the USA. J Comp Eff Res. 2019;8(6):393-402. DOI: 10.2217/cer-2018-0094.

6 Engelberts PJ, Hiemstra IH, de Jong B, et al. DuoBody-CD3xCD20 induces potent T-cell-mediated killing of malignant B cells in preclinical models and provides opportunities for subcutaneous dosing. EBioMedicine. 2020;52:102625. DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.102625.

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