04.21.20 Press Release

IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib) Receives 11th FDA Approval

  • IMBRUVICA plus rituximab demonstrated superior progression-free survival against the chemoimmunotherapy regimen of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and rituximab (FCR) for previously untreated patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • This milestone marks the fifth study for IMBRUVICA to bring a chemo-free treatment option to patients with CLL and the sixth approval for IMBRUVICA in CLL
  • Granted under FDA’s Real-Time Oncology Review pilot program, Project Orbis and priority review
  • IMBRUVICA has been used to treat more than 195,000 patients worldwide across approved indications

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., April 21, 2020 – AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib) in combination with rituximab for the treatment of previously untreated patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). This milestone marks the 11th FDA approval for IMBRUVICA since it was first approved in 2013 and the sixth in CLL, the most common form of leukemia in adults.1

“The gold-standard first-line treatment option for many patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who were fit enough to tolerate an aggressive treatment course had been the intravenous chemoimmunotherapy of FCR – that is, until today,” said Brian Koffman, M.D., C.M., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, CLL Society. “The FDA approval of ibrutinib and rituximab regimen is welcome news for these previously untreated patients who have been looking forward to a non-chemotherapy treatment option. The results from ECOG-ACRIN’s E1912 clinical trial in previously untreated, younger adult patients and today’s milestone represent a paradigm shift in how physicians can treat patients with CLL and may enable many to choose a non-chemotherapy treatment option."

The approval is based on positive results from the landmark Phase 3 E1912 study, which was designed and conducted by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (ECOG-ACRIN) and sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is the third Phase 3 randomized study in the treatment of previously untreated CLL patients incorporated into the medicine’s U.S. prescribing information. In addition to the Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) pilot program and priority review, the approval was granted under the FDA’s recently established Project Orbis, an initiative of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence, which provides a framework for submission and review of oncology medicine applications among multiple regulatory agencies worldwide.

“With eleven FDA approvals in six years, this latest CLL label update for IMBRUVICA further underscores the impact of this important medicine in the first-line setting,” said Danelle James, M.D., M.A.S., IMBRUVICA Clinical Development Lead, Pharmacyclics LLC, an AbbVie company. “IMBRUVICA enables long-term disease management and now has demonstrated superior progression-free survival compared to a standard chemoimmunotherapy regimen. Today, many patients who were previously considered appropriate for chemotherapy now have an alternative treatment option.”

The E1912 study demonstrated previously untreated patients (aged 70 or younger) with CLL lived longer without disease progression – as measured by statistically significant progression-free survival (PFS) – with IMBRUVICA plus rituximab compared to those treated with the potent chemoimmunotherapy regimen comparator of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and rituximab (FCR). At a median follow-up of 37 months, IMBRUVICA plus rituximab significantly improved PFS compared to FCR (hazard ratio [HR] 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.22-0.52; p<0.0001). With a median follow-up time of 49 months, median overall survival was not reached with a total of 23 deaths: 11 (3%) in the IMBRUVICA plus rituximab and 12 (7%) in the FCR treatment arms. Extended follow-up results from the E1912 study were most recently presented in an oral session at the 2019 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting.

In the E1912 study, the most common adverse reactions (occurring in 30% or more of patients) of all Grades in patients treated with IMBRUVICA plus rituximab compared to patients treated with FCR were fatigue (80% vs. 78%), musculoskeletal pain* (61% vs. 35%), diarrhea (53% vs. 27%), rash* (49% vs. 29%), hypertension* (42% vs. 22%), arthralgia (41% vs. 10%), nausea (40% vs. 64%), headache (40% vs. 27%), bruising* (36% vs. 4%), cough (32% vs. 25%) and hemorrhage* (31% vs. 8%).

The recommended dosage of IMBRUVICA for CLL/SLL is 420 mg orally once a day until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. For adults with CLL/SLL, IMBRUVICA can be administered as a single agent, in combination rituximab or obinutuzumab, or in combination with bendamustine and rituximab (BR). When administering IMBRUVICA in combination with rituximab or obinutuzumab, consider administering IMBRUVICA prior to rituximab or obinutuzumab when given on the same day.

*Includes multiple adverse drug reaction terms.

About the E1912 Study2 

The Phase 3 E1912 study evaluated 529 previously untreated CLL patients ages 70 or younger (median age of 58) who were randomly assigned in a 2:1 fashion to receive IMBRUVICA plus rituximab (N=354) or the chemoimmunotherapy FCR (N=175). The primary endpoint was PFS.

The study was led by ECOG-ACRIN with study site participation by groups in the NCI's National Clinical Trials Network (Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, ECOG-ACRIN, NRG Oncology and SWOG), and was sponsored by the NCI. Pharmacyclics LLC supported the study through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the NCI.

About IMBRUVICA

IMBRUVICA is a once-daily, first-in-class Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor that is administered orally, and is jointly developed and commercialized by Pharmacyclics, LLC, an AbbVie Company and Janssen Biotech, Inc. The BTK protein sends important signals that tell B cells to mature and produce antibodies. BTK signaling is needed by specific cancer cells to multiply and spread.3,4 By blocking BTK, IMBRUVICA may help move abnormal B cells out of their nourishing environments in the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and other organs.5

Since its launch in 2013, IMBRUVICA has received 11 FDA approvals across six disease areas:

chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with or without 17p deletion (del17p); small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) with or without del17p; Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM); previously-treated patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)*; previously-treated patients with marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) who require systemic therapy and have received at least one prior anti-CD20-based therapy* – and previously-treated patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) after failure of one or more lines of systemic therapy.6

IMBRUVICA is now approved in 95 countries and has been used to treat more than 195,000 patients worldwide across its approved indications. IMBRUVICA is the only FDA-approved medicine in WM and cGVHD. IMBRUVICA has been granted four Breakthrough Therapy Designations from the U.S. FDA. This designation is intended to expedite the development and review of a potential new drug for serious or life-threatening diseases. IMBRUVICA was one of the first medicines to receive FDA approval via the Breakthrough Therapy Designation pathway.

In early 2019, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 28 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, recommends ibrutinib (IMBRUVICA) as a preferred regimen for the initial treatment of CLL/SLL and it is the only Category 1 treatment for treatment-naïve patients without deletion 17p. In February 2020, the NCCN Guidelines® were updated to elevate IMBRUVICA with or without rituximab from other recommended regimens to a preferred regimen for the treatment of relapsed/refractory MCL.

IMBRUVICA is being studied alone and in combination with other treatments in several blood and solid tumor cancers and other serious illnesses. IMBRUVICA is the most comprehensively studied BTK inhibitor, with more than 150 ongoing clinical trials. There are approximately 30 ongoing company-sponsored trials, 14 of which are in Phase 3, and more than 100 investigator-sponsored trials and external collaborations that are active around the world. For more information, visit www.IMBRUVICA.com.

*Accelerated approval was granted for the MCL and MZL indications based on overall response rate. Continued approval for MCL and MZL may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Hemorrhage: Fatal bleeding events have occurred in patients who received IMBRUVICA®. Major hemorrhage (≥ Grade 3, serious, or any central nervous system events; e.g., intracranial hemorrhage [including subdural hematoma], gastrointestinal bleeding, hematuria, and post procedural hemorrhage) occurred in 4% of patients, with fatalities occurring in 0.4% of 2,838 patients who received IMBRUVICA® in 27 clinical trials. Bleeding events, including bruising and petechiae, occurred in 39% of patients who received IMBRUVICA®.

The mechanism for the bleeding events is not well understood.

Use of either anticoagulant or antiplatelet agents concomitantly with IMBRUVICA® increases the risk of major hemorrhage. Across clinical trials, 3.1% of 2,838 patients who received IMBRUVICA® without antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy experienced major hemorrhage.  The addition of antiplatelet therapy with or without anticoagulant therapy increased this percentage to 4.4%, and the addition of anticoagulant therapy with or without antiplatelet therapy increased this percentage to 6.1%.  Consider the risks and benefits of anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy when co-administered with IMBRUVICA®. Monitor for signs and symptoms of bleeding.

Consider the benefit-risk of withholding IMBRUVICA® for at least 3 to 7 days pre- and post-surgery depending upon the type of surgery and the risk of bleeding.

Infections: Fatal and non-fatal infections (including bacterial, viral, or fungal) have occurred with IMBRUVICA® therapy. Grade 3 or greater infections occurred in 21% of 1,476 patients who received IMBRUVICA® in clinical trials. Cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. Consider prophylaxis according to standard of care in patients who are at increased risk for opportunistic infections.

Monitor and evaluate patients for fever and infections and treat appropriately.

Cytopenias: In 645 patients with B‑cell malignancies who received IMBRUVICA® as a single agent, Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia occurred in 23% of patients, Grade 3 or 4 thrombocytopenia in 8% and Grade 3 or 4 anemia in 3%, based on laboratory measurements.

Monitor complete blood counts monthly.

Cardiac Arrhythmias: Fatal and serious cardiac arrhythmias have occurred with IMBRUVICA®. Grade 3 or greater ventricular tachyarrhythmias occurred in 0.2% of patients and Grade 3 or greater atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter occurred in 4% of 1,476 patients who received IMBRUVICA® in clinical trials. These events have occurred particularly in patients with cardiac risk factors, hypertension, acute infections, and a previous history of cardiac arrhythmias.

Periodically monitor patients clinically for cardiac arrhythmias. Obtain an ECG for patients who develop arrhythmic symptoms (e.g., palpitations, lightheadedness, syncope, chest pain) or new onset dyspnea. Manage cardiac arrhythmias appropriately, and if it persists, consider the risks and benefits of IMBRUVICA® treatment and follow dose modification guidelines

Hypertension: Hypertension occurred in 19% of 1,476 patients who received IMBRUVICA® in clinical trials.  Grade 3 or greater hypertension occurred in 8% of patients. Based on data from 1,124 of these patients, the median time to onset was 5.9 months (range, 0.03 to 24 months).   

Monitor blood pressure in patients treated with IMBRUVICA® and initiate or adjust anti-hypertensive medication throughout treatment with IMBRUVICA® as appropriate.

Second Primary Malignancies: Other malignancies (10%), including non-skin carcinomas (4%), occurred among the 1,476 patients who received IMBRUVICA® in clinical trials. The most frequent second primary malignancy was non-melanoma skin cancer (6%).

Tumor Lysis Syndrome: Tumor lysis syndrome has been infrequently reported with IMBRUVICA®. Assess the baseline risk (e.g., high tumor burden) and take appropriate precautions.  

Monitor patients closely and treat as appropriate. 

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Based on findings in animals, IMBRUVICA® can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with IMBRUVICA® and for 1 month after the last dose. Advise males with female partners of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during the same time period.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

B-cell malignancies: The most common adverse reactions (≥30%) in patients with B-cell malignancies (MCL, CLL/SLL, WM and MZL) were thrombocytopenia (54.5%)*, diarrhea (43.8%), fatigue (39.1%), musculoskeletal pain (38.8%), neutropenia (38.6%)*, rash (35.8%), anemia (35.0%)*, and bruising (32.0%).

The most common Grade ≥ 3 adverse reactions (≥5%) in patients with B-cell malignancies (MCL, CLL/SLL, WM and MZL) were neutropenia (20.7%)*, thrombocytopenia (13.6%)*, pneumonia (8.2%), and hypertension (8.0%).

Approximately 9% (CLL/SLL), 14% (MCL), 14% (WM) and 10% (MZL) of patients had a dose reduction due to adverse reactions. Approximately 4-10% (CLL/SLL), 9% (MCL), and 7% (WM [5%] and MZL [13%]) of patients discontinued due to adverse reactions.

cGVHD: The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients with cGVHD were fatigue (57%), bruising (40%), diarrhea (36%), thrombocytopenia (33%)*, muscle spasms (29%), stomatitis (29%), nausea (26%), hemorrhage (26%), anemia (24%)*, and pneumonia (21%).

The most common Grade 3 or higher adverse reactions (≥5%) reported in patients with cGVHD were pneumonia (14%), fatigue (12%), diarrhea (10%), neutropenia (10%)*, sepsis (10%), hypokalemia (7%), headache (5%), musculoskeletal pain (5%), and pyrexia (5%).

Twenty-four percent of patients receiving IMBRUVICA® in the cGVHD trial discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions. Adverse reactions leading to dose reduction occurred in 26% of patients.

*Treatment-emergent decreases (all grades) were based on laboratory measurements.

DRUG INTERACTIONS

CYP3A Inhibitors: Co-administration of IMBRUVICA® with strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitors may increase ibrutinib plasma concentrations.  Dose modifications of IMBRUVICA® may be recommended when used concomitantly with posaconazole, voriconazole, and moderate CYP3A inhibitors. Avoid concomitant use of other strong CYP3A inhibitors.  Interrupt IMBRUVICA® if strong inhibitors are used short-term (e.g., for ≤ 7 days).  See dose modification guidelines in USPI sections 2.4 and 7.1.

CYP3A Inducers: Avoid coadministration with strong CYP3A inducers.

SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Hepatic Impairment (based on Child-Pugh criteria): Avoid use of IMBRUVICA® in patients with severe baseline hepatic impairment. In patients with mild or moderate impairment, reduce recommended IMBRUVICA® dose and monitor more frequently for adverse reactions of IMBRUVICA®.

Please click here for full Prescribing Information.

About AbbVie

AbbVie is a global, research and development-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical conditions. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn or Instagram.

Forward-Looking Statements

Some statements in this news release may be forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project” and similar expressions, among others, 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 indicated 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,” in AbbVie's 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AbbVie undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.

Contacts:

Media
Ilke Limoncu
Phone: 669-224-1836

Eric Anderson
Phone: 650-788-7327

 

Investors
Liz Shea
Phone: 847-935-2211

 

Physicians
U.S. Medical Information
Phone: 877-877-3536

IMBRUVICA is a registered trademark of Pharmacyclics LLC.

SOURCE AbbVie Inc.

CCRC-04364 4/20

 

1 American Society of Hematology. Leukemia. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Cancers/Leukemia.aspx. Accessed February 2020.

2 Shanafelt, T., et al. Ibrutinib–Rituximab or Chemoimmunotherapy for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. The New England Journal of Medicine. August 1, 2019. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1817073. Accessed January 2020.

3 Genetics Home Reference. Isolated growth hormone deficiency. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/isolated-growth-hormone-deficiency. Accessed January 2020.

4 Turetsky, et al. Single cell imaging of Bruton's Tyrosine Kinase using an irreversible inhibitor. Scientific Reports. volume 4, Article number: 4782 (2014).

5 de Rooij MF, Kuil A, Geest CR, et al. The clinically active BTK inhibitor PCI-32765 targets B-cell receptor- and chemokine-controlled adhesion and migration in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Blood. 2012;119(11):2590-2594.

6 IMBRUVICA U.S. Prescribing Information, April 2020.