Roche and FDA Agree on Pathway Towards U.S. Approval of ACTEMRA(R) (tocilizumab)
As a result of the FDA’s evolving Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) requirements for medications, the Agency has clarified that a REMS plan is required to help ensure that health care professionals prescribe and administer ACTEMRA correctly, and that patients understand the potential benefits and risks associated with this medication. Additionally, based on the evolving requirements for approval of new biologics, the FDA has asked Roche for non-clinical animal model data, beyond what was included in the ACTEMRA BLA. Roche is performing the requested pre-clinical studies to confirm the published literature showing that ACTEMRA does not affect peri- and post-natal development, and fertility. The FDA has not requested additional clinical studies prior to approval.
The FDA Office of Compliance has also completed its evaluation of the manufacturing facility in
In September, Roche received a complete response letter from the FDA for the ACTEMRA BLA. Since then, Roche has been engaged in productive discussions with the FDA and recently met with Agency representatives for clarification on the outstanding components related to the ACTEMRA BLA.
“Roche will continue to work diligently to fulfill the FDA’s requirements, and we anticipate submitting the complete response for ACTEMRA to the Agency in the third quarter of 2009,” said
Roche submitted the BLA for ACTEMRA to the FDA on
About ACTEMRA(R) (tocilizumab)
ACTEMRA is the first humanized interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor-inhibiting monoclonal antibody being studied for the treatment of RA. Studies demonstrate that reducing the activity of IL-6, one of several key cytokines involved in the inflammatory process, relieves both inflammation of the joints and certain systemic effects of RA. The extensive clinical development program conducted by Roche includes five Phase III clinical studies and has enrolled more than 4,000 patients in 41 countries, including
ACTEMRA is part of a co-development agreement between Roche and Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. In
The serious adverse reactions reported in ACTEMRA clinical studies include serious infections, gastrointestinal perforations and hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis. The most common adverse reactions reported in clinical studies were upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, headache, hypertension and increased ALT. Increases in liver enzymes (ALT and AST) were seen in patients; these increases were generally mild and reversible, with no evidence of hepatic injuries. Laboratory changes, including increases in lipids (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides) and decreases in neutrophils and platelets, were seen in patients without association with clinical outcomes. Treatments that suppress the immune system, such as ACTEMRA, may cause an increase in the risk of malignancies.
IL-6 is a common protein found in all joints in the body and is a natural substance that can raise inflammation. Everyone has IL-6 in their body, but people with RA may have too much.
When approved, ACTEMRA will be the first and only medication to specifically target IL-6 in patients with RA.
About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive, systemic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the membrane lining in the joints. This inflammation causes a loss of joint shape and function, resulting in pain, stiffness and swelling, ultimately leading to irreversible joint destruction and disability. Characteristics of RA include redness, swelling, pain and movement limitation around joints of the hands, feet, elbows, knees and neck that leads to loss of function. In addition, the systemic symptoms of RA include fatigue, decreased hemoglobin, osteoporosis and may contribute to shortening life expectancy by affecting major organ systems. After 10 years, less than 50 percent of patients can continue to work or function normally on a daily basis. RA affects more than 21 million people worldwide with approximately 1.3 million adults affected in
Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche), based in
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