October 7, 2008
NCCN, Abraxis BioScience and AstraZeneca Announce Collaboration to Conduct Anti-Cancer Drug Studies
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), Abraxis BioScience (NASDAQ:ABII), and AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) today announced that they have entered into a collaboration to conduct multiple investigator-initiated studies of Abraxis BioScience's anti-cancer drug ABRAXANE(R) for Injectable Suspension (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) (albumin bound), which is based on the company's proprietary tumor targeting technology known as the nab(TM) platform.
The NCCN studies will evaluate ABRAXANE in the treatment of breast, non-small cell lung, head and neck, melanoma and ovarian cancers. The clinical research will include investigations of tumor gene expression by microarray and the expression of SPARC, (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine), a protein that is over expressed and secreted in many cancers. SPARC, a known prognostic factor for poor survival in a number of tumor types(1), is an albumin binding protein that may mediate an enhanced anti-tumor effect of ABRAXANE via a SPARC- albumin interaction(2).
"Collaborating with NCCN Member Institutions allows us to tap into their collective expertise to develop safer and more effective treatments for cancer. ABRAXANE has become a leading treatment option for metastatic breast cancer, and we are pleased to support this critical research designed to investigate ABRAXANE in several oncology indications," said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Abraxis BioScience. "The research will also evaluate whether SPARC expression leads to increased clinical response with ABRAXANE due to the interaction of SPARC and albumin."
Abraxis and AstraZeneca, which have a co-promotion agreement for marketing ABRAXANE in the United States, are providing funding in support of the clinical studies. Investigators at seven NCCN Member Institutions are recipients of awards from NCCN for the clinical studies conducted at their centers.
"AstraZeneca is pleased to support the NCCN Oncology Research Program in collaboration with Abraxis Oncology," said Lisa Schoenberg, Vice President of Specialty Care, AstraZeneca. "This program can be beneficial by providing a better understanding of ABRAXANE in different tumor types. Support of the NCCN program is further evidence of AstraZeneca's commitment to oncology research."
The NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) facilitates all phases of clinical research by identifying clinical investigators and initiating trials at NCCN Member Institutions. The NCCN ORP draws on the expertise of investigators at 21 of the world's leading cancer centers and helps to establish collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer.
About ABRAXANE (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) (albumin bound)
In the United States, ABRAXANE is currently indicated for the treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy. Prior therapy should have included an anthracycline unless clinically contraindicated.
For the ABRAXANE full prescribing information (including boxed WARNING), please visit www.abraxane.com.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: ABRAXANE for Injectable Suspension (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) (albumin-bound) should be administered under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Appropriate management of complications is possible only when adequate diagnostic and treatment facilities are readily available.
ABRAXANE therapy should not be administered to patients with metastatic breast cancer who have baseline neutrophil counts of less than 1,500 cells/mm3. In order to monitor the occurrence of bone marrow suppression, primarily neutropenia, which may be severe and result in infection, it is recommended that frequent peripheral blood cell counts be performed on all patients receiving ABRAXANE.
Note: An albumin form of paclitaxel may substantially affect a drug's functional properties relative to those of drug in solution. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR OR WITH OTHER PACLITAXEL FORMULATIONS.
The use of ABRAXANE has not been studied in patients with hepatic or renal dysfunction. In the randomized controlled trial, patients were excluded for baseline serum bilirubin greater than 1.5 mg/dL or baseline serum creatinine greater than 2 mg/dL.
ABRAXANE can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while receiving treatment with ABRAXANE.
Men should be advised to not father a child while receiving treatment with ABRAXANE.
It is recommended that nursing be discontinued when receiving ABRAXANE therapy.
ABRAXANE contains albumin (human), a derivative of human blood.
Caution should be exercised when administering ABRAXANE concomitantly with known substrates or inhibitors of CYP2C8 and CYP3A4.
ABRAXANE therapy should not be administered to patients with metastatic breast cancer who have baseline neutrophil counts of less than 1,500 cells/mm3. It is recommended that frequent peripheral blood cell counts be performed on all patients receiving ABRAXANE. Patients should not be retreated with subsequent cycles of ABRAXANE until neutrophils recover to a level greater than 1,500 cells/mm3 and platelets recover to a level greater than 100,000 cells/mm3.
In the case of severe neutropenia (less than 500 cells/mm3 for 7 days or more) during a course of ABRAXANE therapy, a dose reduction for subsequent courses is recommended.
Sensory neuropathy occurs frequently with ABRAXANE.
If grade 3 sensory neuropathy develops, treatment should be withheld until resolution to grade 1 or 2 followed by a dose reduction for all subsequent courses of ABRAXANE.
Severe cardiovascular events possibly related to single-agent ABRAXANE occurred in approximately 3% of patients in the randomized trial. These events included chest pain, cardiac arrest, supraventricular tachycardia, edema, thrombosis, pulmonary thromboembolism, pulmonary emboli, and hypertension.
In the randomized metastatic breast cancer study, the most important adverse events included alopecia (90%), neutropenia (all cases 80%; severe 9%), sensory neuropathy (any symptoms 71%; severe 10%), asthenia (any 47%; severe 8%), myalgia/arthralgia (any 44%; severe 8%), anemia (all 33%; severe 1%), infections (24%), nausea (any 30%; severe 3%), vomiting (any 18%; severe 4%), diarrhea (any 27%; severe less than 1%), and mucositis (any 7%; severe less than 1%).
Other adverse reactions have included ocular/visual disturbances (any 13%; severe 1%), fluid retention (any 10%; severe 0%), hepatic dysfunction (elevations in bilirubin 7%, alkaline phosphatase 36%, AST (SGOT) 39%), renal dysfunction (any 11%; severe 1%), thrombocytopenia (any 2%; severe less than 1%), hypersensitivity reactions (any 4%; severe 0%), cardiovascular reactions (severe 3%), and injection site reactions (less than 1%). During postmarketing surveillance, rare occurrences of severe hypersensitivity reactions have been reported with ABRAXANE.
About Abraxis BioScience
Abraxis BioScience is a fully integrated global biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of next-generation therapeutics and core technologies that offer patients safer and more effective treatments for cancer and other critical illnesses. The company's portfolio includes the world's first and only protein-bound chemotherapeutic compound (ABRAXANE), which is based on the company's proprietary tumor targeting technology known as the nab(TM) platform. The first FDA approved product to use this nab(TM) platform, ABRAXANE, was launched in 2005 for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Abraxis trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol ABII. For more information about the company and its products, please visit www.abraxisbio.com.
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $13.35 billion dollar healthcare business with 12,200 employees committed to improving people's lives. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index. For more information visit www.astrazeneca-us.com.
About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of 21 of the world's leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit www.nccn.org.
The NCCN Member Institutions are: City of Hope, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Richard J. Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Cancer Institute, Memphis, TN; Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE; The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN.
1. Podhajcer OL, Benedetti LG, Girotti MR, et al: The role of the matricellular protein SPARC in the dynamic interaction between the tumor and the host. Cancer Metastasis Rev, 2008
2. Trieu V, Hwang J, Desai N: Nanoparticle Albumin-bound (nab) technology may enhance antitumor activity via targeting of SPARC protein (abstr 53), New Targets and Delivery System for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment (SKCC). San Diego, CA, 2007