Pharmacyclics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCYC) today announced the acceptance of a Type II variation application for IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib) by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This submission, filed by strategic partner Janssen-Cilag International NV (Janssen), represents a potential label expansion for IMBRUVICA in the European Union (EU) for the treatment of adult patients with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (WM), a rare type of B-cell lymphoma for which treatment options are limited in the EU. If approved, IMBRUVICA would be the first label specifically authorized to treat WM.
IMBRUVICA is a first-in-class, oral, once-daily, therapy being jointly developed and commercialized in the United States (U.S.) by Pharmacyclics and Janssen Biotech, Inc. Janssen affiliates will hold the marketing authorization and market IMBRUVICA in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), as well as the rest of the world, outside the U.S.
"This additional application in the EU shows the priority and urgency with which we, and our collaboration partner Janssen, pursue the ongoing potential for IMBRUVICA," said Thorsten Graef, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President of Clinical Science, Pharmacyclics. "If approved, IMBRUVICA could address a very important unmet need for patients with WM in Europe, who currently have limited treatment options."
The acceptance of the WM Type II variation submission for IMBRUVICA triggers a $20 million milestone payment to Pharmacyclics under its collaboration agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc.
The EMA WM filing follows the supplemental New Drug Application submission for IMBRUVICA to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was submitted by Pharmacyclics in October 2014, for its use in the treatment of patients with WM. Both the FDA and EMA filings were based on data from a Phase II study evaluating the use of IMBRUVICA in WM patients, which was led by Dr. Steven Treon from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
WM is a slow-growing, currently incurable, rare type of B-cell lymphoma for which there are no EU-wide approved drugs. The median age at diagnosis is 63-68 years of age and incidence rates among men and women in the EU are approximately 7.3 and 4.2 per million persons, respectively. WM begins with a malignant change to the B cell, a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte), during its maturation so that it continues to reproduce more malignant B cells.