Novartis' Tasigna capsules granted priority review by FDA for treatment of adult patients with Ph+ CML

Novartis announced today that Tasigna® (nilotinib) 200 mg capsules has been granted priority review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) in chronic phase.

FDA priority review status is granted to therapies that offer major advances in treatment or provide a treatment where no adequate therapy exists. This status accelerates the standard review time from 10 to six months. Tasigna demonstrated that significantly fewer patients progressed to more advanced stages of the disease than the standard of care Gleevec® (imatinib mesylate) tablets at 12 months. Tasigna also showed a statistically significant improvement over Gleevec in every other measure of efficacy in the trial, including major molecular response (MMR) and complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) at 12 months.

In addition to the US, regulatory submissions have been filed in the EU and Japan. All filings are based on data showing superior efficacy for Tasigna in the first head-to-head comparison of the drug against the standard of care Gleevec in newly diagnosed Ph+ CML patients. If approved for the first-line indication, Tasigna will be the first drug for newly diagnosed patients to become available since the approval of Gleevec in 2002.

"Recently presented data showed that Tasigna surpassed Gleevec in every measure of treatment efficacy designated in the study including prevention of disease progression at 12 months," said David Epstein, CEO of the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Division. "Now this priority review designation brings us one step closer to offering patients who are newly diagnosed with Ph+ CML in the chronic phase a promising new treatment option."

The regulatory submissions are based on data from the ENESTnd (Evaluating Nilotinib Efficacy and Safety in Clinical Trials of Newly Diagnosed Ph+ CML Patients) Phase III clinical trial. This randomized, open-label, multicenter trial compared the efficacy and safety of Tasigna versus Gleevec in adult patients with newly diagnosed Ph+ CML in chronic phase. It is the largest global randomized comparison of two oral therapies ever conducted in newly diagnosed Ph+ CML patients.

In the ENESTnd clinical trial significantly fewer patients at 12 months progressed to accelerated or blastic phase on Tasigna 300 mg twice daily than on Gleevec 400 mg once daily (2 patients vs. 11 patients), demonstrating a significant improvement in disease control. Fewer patients discontinued due to adverse events from the Tasigna 300 mg twice daily arm of the study compared to the Gleevec 400 mg once daily arm.  No patients in the study had a prolongation of the QT interval >500 milliseconds. In addition, no sudden deaths occurred with either treatment.

Tasigna is a potent and selective inhibitor of the Bcr-Abl protein that causes production of cancer cells in Ph+ CML. The first clinical trials of Tasigna began 21 months after its discovery, with the drug receiving its first regulatory approval in the second-line indication in 2007.

SOURCE Novartis

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