Genzyme, a Sanofi company (EURONEXT:SAN and NYSE:SNY), announced today that Argentina's National Administration of Drugs, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) has approved LemtradaTM (alemtuzumab) for adult patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) with active disease defined by clinical or imaging features.
"The Lemtrada clinical trial data demonstrating the treatment's positive impact on relapse rates and disability progression support its potential as a transformational new treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis," said Norma Deri, M.D., Hosptial Fernandez, Buenos Aires, Argentina. "The approval of Lemtrada is good news for people living with active MS, who are in need of additional treatment options that may offer greater efficacy."
Lemtrada is supported by a comprehensive and extensive clinical development program that involved nearly 1,500 patients and 5,400 patient-years of follow-up. In addition to Argentina, Lemtrada is approved in the European Union, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Guatemala. Lemtrada is currently not approved in the United States. Genzyme recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for review the company's resubmission of its application seeking approval of Lemtrada. Genzyme expects FDA action on the application in the fourth quarter.
More than 2.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS, including approximately 8,000 people in Argentina.
Lemtrada 12 mg has a novel dosing and administration schedule of two annual treatment courses. The first treatment course of Lemtrada is administered via intravenous infusion on five consecutive days, and the second course is administered on three consecutive days, 12 months later.
"We are pleased by the continued global support for Lemtrada," said Genzyme President and CEO, David Meeker. "We are launching the treatment in more than 30 countries this year, and look forward to additional approvals where Lemtrada is still under review."
The Lemtrada clinical development program included two randomized Phase III studies comparing treatment with Lemtrada to high-dose subcutaneous interferon beta-1a (Rebif®) in patients with RRMS who had active disease and were either new to treatment (CARE-MS I) or who had relapsed while on prior therapy (CARE-MS II), as well as an ongoing extension study. In CARE-MS I, Lemtrada was significantly more effective than interferon beta-1a at reducing annualized relapse rates; the difference observed in slowing disability progression did not reach statistical significance. In CARE-MS II, Lemtrada was significantly more effective than interferon beta-1a at reducing annualized relapse rates, and accumulation of disability was significantly slowed in patients given Lemtrada vs. interferon beta-1a.
The most common side effects of Lemtrada are infusion associated reactions (headache, rash, pyrexia, nausea, fatigue, urticaria, insomnia, pruritus, diarrhea, chills, dizziness, and flushing), infections (upper respiratory tract and urinary tract), and lymphopenia. Autoimmune conditions (including immune thrombocytopenia, other cytopenias, glomerulonephritis and thyroid disease) and serious infections can occur in patients receiving Lemtrada. A comprehensive risk management program incorporating education and monitoring will support early detection and management of these identified risks.