BOTHELL - Seattle Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGEN) and Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., 'Astellas') today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for PADCEV in combination with Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA for the treatment of patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who are unable to receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy in the first-line setting.
The FDA's Breakthrough Therapy process is designed to expedite the development and review of drugs that are intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition. Designation is based upon preliminary clinical evidence indicating that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints.
'This is an important step in our investigation of PADCEV in combination with pembrolizumab as a first-line therapy for patients with advanced urothelial cancer who are unable to receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy,' said Roger Dansey, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Seattle Genetics. 'Based on encouraging early clinical activity, we recently initiated a phase 3 trial of this platinum-free combination and look forward to potentially addressing an unmet need for patients.'
'The FDA's Breakthrough Therapy designation reflects the encouraging preliminary evidence for the combination of PADCEV and pembrolizumab in previously untreated advanced urothelial cancer to benefit patients who are in need of effective treatment options,' said Andrew Krivoshik, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Oncology Therapeutic Area Head, Astellas. 'We look forward to continuing our work with the FDA as we progress our clinical development program as quickly as possible.'
The Breakthrough Therapy designation was granted based on results from the dose-escalation cohort and expansion cohort A of the phase 1b/2 trial EV-103 (NCT03288545), evaluating patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who are unable to receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy treated in the first-line setting with PADCEV in combination with pembrolizumab. Initial results from the trial were presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2019 Congress, and updated findings at the 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. EV-103 is an ongoing, multi-cohort, open-label, multicenter phase 1b/2 trial of PADCEV alone or in combination, evaluating safety, tolerability and efficacy in muscle invasive, locally advanced and first- and second-line metastatic urothelial cancer.
About Bladder and Urothelial Cancer
It is estimated that approximately 81,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2020.1 Urothelial cancer accounts for 90 percent of all bladder cancers and can also be found in the renal pelvis, ureter and urethra.2
Globally, approximately 549,000 people were diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2018, and there were approximately 200,000 deaths worldwide.3
The recommended first-line treatment for patients with advanced urothelial cancer is a cisplatin-based chemotherapy. For patients who are unable to receive cisplatin, such as people with kidney impairment, a carboplatin-based regimen is recommended. However, fewer than half of patients respond to carboplatin-based regimens and outcomes are typically poorer compared to cisplatin-based regimens.4
PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2019 and is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who have previously received a programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) or programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor and a platinum-containing chemotherapy before (neoadjuvant) or after (adjuvant) surgery or in a locally advanced or metastatic setting. PADCEV was approved under the FDA's Accelerated Approval Program based on tumor response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.5
PADCEV is a first-in-class antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that is directed against Nectin-4, a protein located on the surface of cells and highly expressed in bladder cancer.5,6 Nonclinical data suggest the anticancer activity of PADCEV is due to its binding to Nectin-4 expressing cells followed by the internalization and release of the anti-tumor agent monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) into the cell, which result in the cell not reproducing (cell cycle arrest) and in programmed cell death (apoptosis).5 PADCEV is co-developed by Astellas and Seattle Genetics.
About Seattle Genetics
Seattle Genetics, Inc. is a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops and commercializes transformative medicines targeting cancer to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. The company is headquartered in Bothell, Washington, and has offices in California, Switzerland and the European Union.
Astellas Pharma Inc., based in Tokyo, Japan, is a company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products.
About the Seattle Genetics and Astellas Collaboration
Seattle Genetics and Astellas are co-developing PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) under a collaboration that was entered into in 2007 and expanded in 2009. Under the collaboration, the companies are sharing costs and profits on a 50:50 basis worldwide.
About the Seattle Genetics, Astellas and Merck Collaboration
Seattle Genetics and Astellas entered a clinical collaboration agreement with Merck to evaluate the combination of Seattle Genetics' and Astellas' PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) and Merck's KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab), in patients with previously untreated metastatic urothelial cancer. KEYTRUDA is a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.
Seattle Genetics Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this press release are forward looking, such as those, among others, relating to the development of PADCEV in combination with pembrolizumab as a first-line therapy for patients with advanced urothelial cancer who are unable to receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy, and the therapeutic potential of PADCEV including its efficacy, safety and therapeutic uses. Actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected or implied in these forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such a difference include the possibility that ongoing and subsequent clinical trials may fail to establish sufficient efficacy, that adverse events or safety signals may occur and that adverse regulatory actions may occur. More information about the risks and uncertainties faced by Seattle Genetics is contained under the caption 'Risk Factors' included in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Seattle Genetics disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
Astellas Cautionary Notes
In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management's current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas' intellectual property rights by third parties.
Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development), which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.
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