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Seagen, Astellas and Merck Announce FDA Acceptance of sBLAs for PADCEV® (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) for the First-Line Treatment of Certain Patients With Locally Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Cancer

– This combination has the potential to be the first treatment option combining an antibody-drug conjugate plus an immunotherapy in this treatment setting –

– FDA granted the applications Priority Review with a PDUFA date of April 21, 2023 –

BOTHELL, Wash. & TOKYO & RAHWAY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Seagen Inc. (Nasdaq: SGEN), Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE:4503) and Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for Priority Review supplemental Biologics License Applications (sBLAs) for PADCEV® (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) for use of these two agents in combination for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer (la/mUC) who are not eligible to receive cisplatin-containing chemotherapy. The respective applications are intended to expand both labels for PADCEV and KEYTRUDA. The agency set a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) goal date for each application of April 21, 2023.

“We look forward to working closely with the FDA as we seek potential accelerated approval for this combination in the hopes that it can be another treatment option for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy,” said Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas.

The combination therapy was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA in February 2020. The respective sBLAs are supported by efficacy and safety data from the phase 1b/2 EV-103 trial (NCT03288545, also known as KEYNOTE-869) Dose Escalation/Cohort A and Cohort K. Results from Dose Escalation/Cohort A were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1 Results from Cohort K were presented in a late-breaking session at the 2022 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress.2

“Urothelial cancer, the most common type of bladder cancer, is associated with poor survival in the advanced stage,” said Marjorie Green, M.D., Senior Vice President and Head of Late-Stage Development, Seagen. “The investigational results from our clinical development program support the combination of PADCEV and KEYTRUDA as a potential treatment for this patient population.”

Please see Important Safety Information at the end of this press release for both drugs, including a warning and precaution for immune-mediated adverse reactions for pembrolizumab and BOXED WARNING for PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) for serious skin reactions.

“Despite advancements in treatment options, approximately half of advanced bladder cancer patients in the U.S. are ineligible for cisplatin-based chemotherapy, and these patients need new options. We are encouraged by the investigational results of the combination of PADCEV and KEYTRUDA for this patient population and are fully committed to work to bring this new approach forward to patients,” said Dr. Eliav Barr, Senior Vice President, Head of Global Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer, Merck Research Laboratories.

Seagen, Astellas and Merck are further investigating enfortumab vedotin plus pembrolizumab in the ongoing phase 3 EV-302 study (NCT04223856, also known as KEYNOTE-A39), evaluating the clinical benefit for the investigational treatment combination in patients with previously untreated advanced urothelial cancer. The trial is intended to serve as the confirmatory trial for the potential accelerated approval in the U.S. and serve as the basis for global registration.

The studies are part of an extensive program evaluating this combination in multiple stages of urothelial cancer, including two phase 3 clinical trials in muscle-invasive bladder cancer in EV-304 (NCT04700124, also known as KEYNOTE-B15) and EV-303 (NCT03924895, also known as KEYNOTE-905).

About Bladder and Urothelial Cancer

It is estimated that approximately 81,180 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2022.3 Urothelial cancer accounts for 90% of all bladder cancers and can also be found in the renal pelvis, ureter and urethra.4 Approximately 12% of cases are locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer at diagnosis.5 Globally, approximately 573,000 new cases of bladder cancer and 212,000 deaths are reported annually.6

About the EV-103/KEYNOTE-869 Trial

The EV-103 trial (NCT03288545) is an ongoing, multi-cohort, open-label, multicenter phase 1b/2 study of enfortumab vedotin alone or in combination with pembrolizumab and/or chemotherapy in first- or second-line settings in patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer (la/mUC) and in patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

About PADCEV

PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) 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.7 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).8

PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) U.S. Indication & Important Safety Information

BOXED WARNING: SERIOUS SKIN REACTIONS

  • PADCEV can cause severe and fatal cutaneous adverse reactions including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), which occurred predominantly during the first cycle of treatment, but may occur later.
  • Closely monitor patients for skin reactions.
  • Immediately withhold PADCEV and consider referral for specialized care for suspected SJS or TEN or severe skin reactions.
  • Permanently discontinue PADCEV in patients with confirmed SJS or TEN; or Grade 4 or recurrent Grade 3 skin reactions.

Indication

PADCEV® is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer (mUC) who:

  • have previously received a programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) or programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor and platinum-containing chemotherapy, or
  • are ineligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and have previously received one or more prior lines of therapy.8

Important Safety Information

Warnings and Precautions

Skin reactions Severe cutaneous adverse reactions, including fatal cases of SJS or TEN, occurred in patients treated with PADCEV. SJS and TEN occurred predominantly during the first cycle of treatment but may occur later. Skin reactions occurred in 55% of the 680 patients treated with PADCEV in clinical trials. Twenty-three percent (23%) of patients had maculo-papular rash and 33% had pruritus. Grade 3-4 skin reactions occurred in 13% of patients, including maculo-papular rash, rash erythematous, rash or drug eruption, symmetrical drug-related intertriginous and flexural exanthema (SDRIFE), dermatitis bullous, dermatitis exfoliative, and palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia. In clinical trials, the median time to onset of severe skin reactions was 0.6 months (range: 0.1 to 6.4 months). Among patients experiencing a skin reaction leading to dose interruption who then restarted PADCEV (n=59), 24% of patients restarting at the same dose and 16% of patients restarting at a reduced dose experienced recurrent severe skin reactions. Skin reactions led to discontinuation of PADCEV in 2.6% of patients. Monitor patients closely throughout treatment for skin reactions. Consider topical corticosteroids and antihistamines, as clinically indicated. For persistent or recurrent Grade 2 skin reactions, consider withholding PADCEV until Grade ?1. Withhold PADCEV and refer for specialized care for suspected SJS, TEN or for Grade 3 skin reactions. Permanently discontinue PADCEV in patients with confirmed SJS or TEN, or for Grade 4 or recurrent Grade 3 skin reactions.

Hyperglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), including fatal events, occurred in patients with and without pre-existing diabetes mellitus, treated with PADCEV. Patients with baseline hemoglobin A1C ?8% were excluded from clinical trials. In clinical trials, 14% of the 680 patients treated with PADCEV developed hyperglycemia; 7% of patients developed Grade 3-4 hyperglycemia. The incidence of Grade 3-4 hyperglycemia increased consistently in patients with higher body mass index and in patients with higher baseline A1C. Five percent (5%) of patients required initiation of insulin therapy for treatment of hyperglycemia. The median time to onset of hyperglycemia was 0.6 months (range: 0.1 to 20.3). Hyperglycemia led to discontinuation of PADCEV in 0.6% of patients. Closely monitor blood glucose levels in patients with, or at risk for, diabetes mellitus or hyperglycemia. If blood glucose is elevated (>250 mg/dL), withhold PADCEV.

Pneumonitis Severe, life-threatening or fatal pneumonitis occurred in patients treated with PADCEV. In clinical trials, 3.1% of the 680 patients treated with PADCEV had pneumonitis of any grade and 0.7% had Grade 3-4. In clinical trials, the median time to onset of pneumonitis was 2.9 months (range: 0.6 to 6 months). Monitor patients for signs and symptoms indicative of pneumonitis, such as hypoxia, cough, dyspnea or interstitial infiltrates on radiologic exams. Evaluate and exclude infectious, neoplastic and other causes for such signs and symptoms through appropriate investigations. Withhold PADCEV for patients who develop persistent or recurrent Grade 2 pneumonitis and consider dose reduction. Permanently discontinue PADCEV in all patients with Grade 3 or 4 pneumonitis.

Peripheral neuropathy (PN) occurred in 52% of the 680 patients treated with PADCEV in clinical trials, including 39% with sensory neuropathy, 7% with muscular weakness and 6% with motor neuropathy; 4% experienced Grade 3-4 reactions. PN occurred in patients treated with PADCEV with or without pre-existing PN. The median time to onset of Grade ?2 PN was 4.6 months (range: 0.1 to 15.8 months). Neuropathy led to treatment discontinuation in 5% of patients. Monitor patients for symptoms of new or worsening peripheral neuropathy and consider dose interruption or dose reduction of PADCEV when PN occurs. Permanently discontinue PADCEV in patients who develop Grade ?3 PN.

Ocular disorders were reported in 40% of the 384 patients treated with PADCEV in clinical trials in which ophthalmologic exams were scheduled. The majority of these events involved the cornea and included events associated with dry eye such as keratitis, blurred vision, increased lacrimation, conjunctivitis, limbal stem cell deficiency, and keratopathy. Dry eye symptoms occurred in 34% of patients, and blurred vision occurred in 13% of patients, during treatment with PADCEV. The median time to onset to symptomatic ocular disorder was 1.6 months (range: 0 to 19.1 months). Monitor patients for ocular disorders. Consider artificial tears for prophylaxis of dry eyes and ophthalmologic evaluation if ocular symptoms occur or do not resolve. Consider treatment with ophthalmic topical steroids, if indicated after an ophthalmic exam. Consider dose interruption or dose reduction of PADCEV for symptomatic ocular disorders.

Infusion site extravasation Skin and soft tissue reactions secondary to extravasation have been observed after administration of PADCEV. Of the 680 patients, 1.6% of patients experienced skin and soft tissue reactions, including 0.3% who experienced Grade 3-4 reactions. Reactions may be delayed. Erythema, swelling, increased temperature, and pain worsened until 2-7 days after extravasation and resolved within 1-4 weeks of peak. Two patients (0.3%) developed extravasation reactions with secondary cellulitis, bullae, or exfoliation. Ensure adequate venous access prior to starting PADCEV and monitor for possible extravasation during administration. If extravasation occurs, stop the infusion and monitor for adverse reactions.

Embryo-fetal toxicity PADCEV can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise patients of the potential risk to the fetus. Advise female patients of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during PADCEV treatment and for 2 months after the last dose. Advise male patients with female partners of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with PADCEV and for 4 months after the last dose.

Adverse Reactions

Most Common Adverse Reactions, Including Laboratory Abnormalities (?20%)

Rash, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) increased, glucose increased, creatinine increased, fatigue, PN, lymphocytes decreased, alopecia, decreased appetite, hemoglobin decreased, diarrhea, sodium decreased, nausea, pruritus, phosphate decreased, dysgeusia, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) increased, anemia, albumin decreased, neutrophils decreased, urate increased, lipase increased, platelets decreased, weight decreased and dry skin.

EV-301 Study: 296 patients previously treated with a PD-1/L1 inhibitor and platinum-based chemotherapy.

Serious adverse reactions occurred in 47% of patients treated with PADCEV; the most common (?2%) were urinary tract infection, acute kidney injury (7% each) and pneumonia (5%). Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 3% of patients, including multiorgan dysfunction (1.0%), hepatic dysfunction, septic shock, hyperglycemia, pneumonitis and pelvic abscess (0.3% each). Adverse reactions leading to discontinuation occurred in 17% of patients; the most common (?2%) were PN (5%) and rash (4%). Adverse reactions leading to dose interruption occurred in 61% of patients; the most common (?4%) were PN (23%), rash (11%) and fatigue (9%). Adverse reactions leading to dose reduction occurred in 34% of patients; the most common (?2%) were PN (10%), rash (8%), decreased appetite and fatigue (3% each). Clinically relevant adverse reactions (<15%) include vomiting (14%), AST increased (12%), hyperglycemia (10%), ALT increased (9%), pneumonitis (3%) and infusion site extravasation (0.7%).

EV-201, Cohort 2 Study: 89 patients previously treated with a PD-1/L1 inhibitor and not eligible for platinum-based chemotherapy.

Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of patients treated with PADCEV; the most common (?3%) were pneumonia, sepsis and diarrhea (5% each). Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 8% of patients, including acute kidney injury (2.2%), metabolic acidosis, sepsis, multiorgan dysfunction, pneumonia and pneumonitis (1.1% each). Adverse reactions leading to discontinuation occurred in 20% of patients; the most common (?2%) was PN (7%). Adverse reactions leading to dose interruption occurred in 60% of patients; the most common (?3%) were PN (19%), rash (9%), fatigue (8%), diarrhea (5%), AST increased and hyperglycemia (3% each). Adverse reactions leading to dose reduction occurred in 49% of patients; the most common (?3%) were PN (19%), rash (11%) and fatigue (7%). Clinically relevant adverse reactions (<15%) include vomiting (13%), AST increased (12%), lipase increased (11%), ALT increased (10%), pneumonitis (4%) and infusion site extravasation (1%).

Drug Interactions

Effects of other drugs on PADCEV (Dual P-gp and Strong CYP3A4 Inhibitors)

Concomitant use with a dual P-gp and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors may increase unconjugated monomethyl auristatin E exposure, which may increase the incidence or severity of PADCEV toxicities. Closely monitor patients for signs of toxicity when PADCEV is given concomitantly with dual P-gp and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors.

Specific Populations

Lactation Advise lactating women not to breastfeed during treatment with PADCEV and for at least 3 weeks after the last dose.

Hepatic impairment Avoid the use of PADCEV in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment.

For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information including BOXED WARNING for PADCEV here.

About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. KEYTRUDA is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.

Merck has the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,600 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient's likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Indications in the U.S.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC):

  • who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy, or
  • who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Non-muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

See additional selected indications for KEYTRUDA in the U.S. after the Selected Important Safety Information.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA

Severe and Fatal Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

KEYTRUDA is a monoclonal antibody that belongs to a class of drugs that bind to either the PD-1 or the PD-L1, blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, thereby removing inhibition of the immune response, potentially breaking peripheral tolerance and inducing immune-mediated adverse reactions. Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue, can affect more than one body system simultaneously, and can occur at any time after starting treatment or after discontinuation of treatment. Important immune-mediated adverse reactions listed here may not include all possible severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions.

Monitor patients closely for symptoms and signs that may be clinical manifestations of underlying immune-mediated adverse reactions. Early identification and management are essential to ensure safe use of anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Evaluate liver enzymes, creatinine, and thyroid function at baseline and periodically during treatment. For patients with TNBC treated with KEYTRUDA in the neoadjuvant setting, monitor blood cortisol at baseline, prior to surgery, and as clinically indicated. In cases of suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, initiate appropriate workup to exclude alternative etiologies, including infection. Institute medical management promptly, including specialty consultation as appropriate.

Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity of the immune-mediated adverse reaction. In general, if KEYTRUDA requires interruption or discontinuation, administer systemic corticosteroid therapy (1 to 2 mg/kg/day prednisone or equivalent) until improvement to Grade 1 or less. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Consider administration of other systemic immunosuppressants in patients whose adverse reactions are not controlled with corticosteroid therapy.

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis. The incidence is higher in patients who have received prior thoracic radiation. Immune-mediated pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including fatal (0.1%), Grade 4 (0.3%), Grade 3 (0.9%), and Grade 2 (1.3%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 67% (63/94) of patients. Pneumonitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 1.3% (36) and withholding in 0.9% (26) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 23% had recurrence. Pneumonitis resolved in 59% of the 94 patients.

Pneumonitis occurred in 8% (31/389) of adult patients with cHL receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 2.3% of patients. Patients received high-dose corticosteroids for a median duration of 10 days (range: 2 days to 53 months). Pneumonitis rates were similar in patients with and without prior thoracic radiation. Pneumonitis led to discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 5.4% (21) of patients. Of the patients who developed pneumonitis, 42% interrupted KEYTRUDA, 68% discontinued KEYTRUDA, and 77% had resolution.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis, which may present with diarrhea. Cytomegalovirus infection/reactivation has been reported in patients with corticosteroid-refractory immune-mediated colitis. In cases of corticosteroid-refractory colitis, consider repeating infectious workup to exclude alternative etiologies. Immune-mediated colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (1.1%), and Grade 2 (0.4%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 69% (33/48); additional immunosuppressant therapy was required in 4.2% of patients. Colitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.5% (15) and withholding in 0.5% (13) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 23% had recurrence. Colitis resolved in 85% of the 48 patients.

Hepatotoxicity and Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA as a Single Agent

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Immune-mediated hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.4%), and Grade 2 (0.1%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 68% (13/19) of patients; additional immunosuppressant therapy was required in 11% of patients. Hepatitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.2% (6) and withholding in 0.3% (9) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, none had recurrence. Hepatitis resolved in 79% of the 19 patients.

KEYTRUDA With Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider monitoring more frequently as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (20%) and increased aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (13%) were seen at a higher frequency compared to KEYTRUDA alone. Fifty-nine percent of the patients with increased ALT received systemic corticosteroids. In patients with ALT ?3 times upper limit of normal (ULN) (Grades 2-4, n=116), ALT resolved to Grades 0-1 in 94%.

Contacts

Seagen Contacts:
For Media
David Caouette

(310) 430-3476

[email protected]

For Investors
Douglas Maffei, Ph.D.

(425) 527-4881

[email protected]

Astellas Contacts:
For Media
Cassie Hogenkamp

(847) 942-0980

[email protected]

For Investors
Astellas Pharma Inc.

Corporate Advocacy & Relations

+81-3-3244-3202

Merck Contacts:
For Media
Julie Cunningham

(617) 519-6264

Chrissy Trank

(640) 650-0694

For Investors
Peter Dannenbaum

(908) 740-1037

Damini Chokshi

(908) 740-1807

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