Novartis Gets FDA Approval for Skin Cancer Drug Combination

“Nov 20 Novartis AG said on Friday it received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regular approval for a drug combination to treat an aggressive form of skin cancer.

“The FDA approved Tafinlar and Mekinist for treatment of metastatic melanoma based on two years overall survival in patients, the company said.

“The combination was initially approved based on mid-stage data through the FDA’s accelerated approval program, but the approval was contingent on data from late-stage trial.”


Vemurafenib/Cobimetinib Combo for Melanoma Approved by FDA

“The FDA has approved a combination of vemurafenib (Zelboraf) and cobimetinib (Cotellic) to treat patients with metastatic or unresectable BRAF V600E/K mutation-positive melanoma. The approval was based on based on an extension in progression-free survival (PFS) in the phase III coBRIM study.

“In the data submitted to the FDA, the median PFS with the combination was 12.3 versus 7.2 months with vemurafenib plus placebo (HR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.46-0.72). PFS was the primary endpoint of the study with secondary outcome measures including overall survival (OS), objective response rate (ORR), duration of response, and safety.”


Bristol-Myers Squibb Receives Approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Yervoy (ipilimumab) as Adjuvant Treatment for Fully Resected Stage III Melanoma

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company BMY, -0.27% today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Yervoy (ipilimumab) 10 mg/kg for the adjuvant treatment of patients with cutaneous melanoma with pathologic involvement of regional lymph nodes of more than 1 mm who have undergone complete resection including total lymphadenectomy. This approval is based on clinical data from a pivotal Phase 3 trial, CA184-029 (EORTC 18071), which demonstrated Yervoy 10 mg/kg significantly improved recurrence-free survival (RFS) vs. placebo in this setting, with a 25 percent reduction in the risk of recurrence or death. The median RFS was 26 months (95% ci:19)(95% ci:39) for Yervoy vs. 17 months (95% ci:13)(95% ci:22) for placebo (hazard ratio [HR]=0.75; 95% CI: 0.64, 0.90; p<0.002). Yervoy is the first and only FDA-approved immune checkpoint inhibitor in the adjuvant treatment for fully resected Stage III melanoma (lymph node >1 mm).”


Prostate Surgery To Be Done With High-Intensity Ultrasound Device

“The FDA has announced a de novo clearance for a minimally invasive high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) prostate tissue ablation device called Sonablate 450. This clearance marks the first time HIFU technology will be used in the United States.

“ ‘It is anticipated that ablative urological surgeons in the US will quickly master and adapt this technology for their patients,’ said Herbert Lepor, MD, professor and Martin Spatz Chairman, Department of Urology, New York University School of Medicine, in a statement. ‘HIFU offers the opportunity for the precise delivery of ablative energy to the prostate. Thus, it can be adapted to whole gland or focal gland ablation.’

“Sonablate 450 is used on patients with low-to-high-risk prostate cancer with a PSA lower than 10 ng/mL who have progressed on external beam radiation therapy. The device utilizes a fully integrated probe with dual ablation transducer and focuses ultrasound energy at a targeted location in the prostate gland called the focal point, which is heated to nearly 195 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius). The tissue targeted at the focal point is destroyed, but tissue surrounding the targeted area remains unharmed.”


Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) Receives Expanded FDA Approval in Previously-Treated Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), Offering Improved Survival to More Patients

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Opdivo (nivolumab) injection, for intravenous use, for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients with EGFR mutation or ALK translocation should have disease progression on appropriate targeted therapy prior to receiving Opdivo. In a Phase 3 trial, CheckMate -057, Opdivodemonstrated superior overall survival (OS) in previously treated metastatic non-squamous NSCLC compared to chemotherapy, with a 27% reduction in the risk of death (hazard ratio: 0.73 [95% CI: 0.60, 0.89; p=0.0015]), based on a prespecified interim analysis. The median OS was 12.2 months in the Opdivo arm (95% CI: 9.7, 15.0) and 9.4 months in the docetaxel arm (95% CI: 8.0, 10.7). This approval expands Opdivo’s indication for previously treated metastatic squamous NSCLC to include the non-squamous patient population. Squamous and non-squamous NSCLC together represent approximately 85% to 90% of lung cancer cases.”


FDA Grants Priority Review to Rociletinib for Advanced NSCLC

“The FDA granted priority review to a new drug application for rociletinib.

“Rociletinib (Clovis Oncology) — a novel, oral, targeted covalent mutant-selective epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor — is intended for patients with advanced EGFR-mutant, T790M-positive non–small cell lung cancer who already received EGFR-targeted therapy.

“The FDA is expected to make a decision about the agent’s status by March 30, 2016.”


Lilly Receives FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Abemaciclib – a CDK 4 and 6 Inhibitor – in Advanced Breast Cancer

“Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to abemaciclib, a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4 and 6 inhibitor, for patients with refractory hormone-receptor-positive (HR+) advanced or metastatic breast cancer. This designation is based on data from the breast cancer cohort expansion of the company’s Phase I trial, JPBA, which studied the efficacy and safety of abemaciclib in women with advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Patients in this cohort had received a median of seven prior systemic treatments. These data were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in 2014.”


Nivolumab/Ipilimumab Combination FDA Approved for BRAF Wild-Type Melanoma

“The combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab has received accelerated FDA approval as a treatment for patients with BRAF V600 wild-type (WT) unresectable or metastatic melanoma, based on findings from the phase II CheckMate-069 study.

” ‘Historically, metastatic melanoma has been a difficult disease to treat. Now, a new treatment option based on the combination of two valued immuno-oncology agents demonstrates significant efficacy versus ipilimumab in metastatic melanoma,’ said Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, chief, Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service, Department of Medicine and Ludwig Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in a statement. ‘Today’s approval represents a step forward for the melanoma community, providing hope for patients with metastatic melanoma.’ ”


FDA Grants Alectinib Priority Review in NSCLC

“Alectinib has received an FDA priority review designation for patients with ALK-positive, locally advanced or metastatic non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed or are intolerant to crizotinib (Xalkori), according to Genentech, the manufacturer of the oral second-generation ALK inhibitor. The FDA’s action date for an approval decision is March 4, 2016.

“The priority review is based on two phase II trials (NP286731and NP287612) which demonstrated that alectinib had robust activity in patients with ALK-positive NSCLC following progression on crizotinib (Xalkori), including individuals with CNS metastases.

“ ‘Alectinib was granted priority review by the FDA based on results from two studies showing the medicine shrank tumors in people with ALK-positive NSCLC that progressed on crizotinib,’ Sandra Horning, MD, chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development at Genentech, said in a statement. ‘There is a need for new treatment options in this patient population, especially because the disease often spreads to the brain at progression.’ “