ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) today announced that following a priority review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted accelerated approval of Iclusig™ (ponatinib) for the treatment of adult patients with chronic, accelerated or blast phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) that is resistant or intolerant to prior tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy or Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) that is resistant or intolerant to prior TKI therapy.
"Today's FDA approval of Iclusig is an important advance in the treatment of patients with CML and Ph+ ALL who are resistant or intolerant to prior TKI therapy," stated Harvey J. Berger, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of ARIAD. "Within less than five years, we were able to bring Iclusig from the start of clinical development to U.S. approval, achieving a major milestone in ARIAD's history. We have now transformed ARIAD into a commercial oncology company addressing major unmet medical needs for cancer patients."
Approximately 5,000 new cases of CML are diagnosed each year in the U.S. CML patients treated with TKIs can develop resistance or intolerance over time to these therapies. Iclusig is a targeted cancer medicine discovered and developed at ARIAD. It was designed by ARIAD scientists using ARIAD's platform of computational chemistry and structure-based drug design to inhibit BCR-ABL, including drug-resistant mutants that arise during treatment. Iclusig is the only TKI that demonstrates activity against the T315I gatekeeper mutation of BCR-ABL, the most common mutation occurring in approximately ten percent of patients with drug resistance.
"The availability of Iclusig will improve the outcome of many patients with CML and Philadelphia-positive ALL who are resistant or intolerant to prior TKI therapy. It is an effective therapy that meets an unmet medical need and has to date overcome all known resistant mutations in preclinical studies," said Jorge Cortes, M.D., professor and deputy chair, Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. "Clinical responses to Iclusig have been observed in patients regardless of their mutation status or stage of disease. It is a valuable new treatment option for leukemia patients."
"For patients with CML and Philadelphia-positive ALL who become resistant or intolerant to TKI treatments, the approval of Iclusig is very positive news," said Rosalie Canosa, program division director at CancerCare. "The addition of Iclusig to the arsenal of anti-leukemia medicines is a significant development and one that offers hope for patients coping with CML and Philadelphia-positive ALL."
The FDA approval of Iclusig was based on results from the pivotal Phase 2 PACE (Ponatinib Ph+ ALL and CML Evaluation) trial in patients with CML or Ph+ ALL who were resistant or intolerant to prior TKI therapy, or who had the T315I mutation of BCR-ABL. Iclusig had robust anti-leukemic activity, with 54 percent of chronic-phase CML patients, including 70 percent of patients with the T315I mutation, achieving a major cytogenetic response (MCyR) - the primary endpoint of the PACE trial for chronic-phase patients.
In patients with advanced disease, 52 percent of accelerated-phase CML patients, 31 percent of blast-phase CML patients and 41 percent of Ph+ ALL patients achieved a major hematologic response (MaHR) to Iclusig. MaHR was the primary endpoint in the trial for patients with advanced disease.
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc.