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Grants Priority Review,FDA accepts sBLA for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

Post Time:2023-03-06 Source:CISION Author: Views:

STOCKHOLM,March 6, 2023/PRNewswire/ --BioArctic AB's (publ) (Nasdaq Stockholm: BIOA B) partner Eisai announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted Eisai's supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for LEQEMBI™ (lecanemab-irmb) 100 mg/mL injection for intravenous use, supporting the conversion of the accelerated approval of LEQEMBI to a traditional approval. The LEQEMBI application is based on the confirmatory Phase 3 Clarity AD data and has been granted Priority Review, with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) action date ofJuly 6, 2023. The FDA is currently planning to hold an Advisory Committee to discuss this application but has not yet publicly announced the date of the meeting.

LEQEMBI is a humanized immunoglobulin gamma 1 (IgG1) monoclonal antibody directed against aggregated soluble ("protofibrils")[1]and insoluble forms of amyloid beta (Aβ), approved under the Accelerated Approval Pathway for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) onJanuary 6, 2023. Treatment with LEQEMBI should only be initiated in patients with the mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia stage of disease and confirmed presence of Aβ pathology. On the same day that LEQEMBI received its accelerated approval, Eisai submitted the sBLA to the FDA for approval under the traditional pathway.

The sBLA is based on the findings from Eisai's recently published large, global confirmatory Phase 3 clinical trial, Clarity AD. LEQEMBI met the primary endpoint and all key secondary endpoints with highly statistically significant results. InNovember 2022, the results of the Clarity AD study were presented at the2022 Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease (CTAD) conference, and simultaneously published in the peer-reviewed medical journalNew England Journal of Medicine.

LEQEMBI was approved under accelerated approval in the U.S. and was launched in the U.S. onJanuary 18, 2023. The accelerated approval was based on Phase2bdata that demonstrated that LEQEMBI reduced the accumulation of Aβ plaque in the brain, a defining feature of AD, and its continued approval may be contingent upon verification of LEQEMBI's clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial. The FDA has determined that the results of Clarity AD can serve as the confirmatory study to verify the clinical benefit of lecanemab.

Eisai serves as the lead of lecanemab development and regulatory submissions globally with both Eisai and Biogen co-commercializing and co-promoting the product and Eisai having final decision-making authority. BioArctic has right to commercialize lecanemab in the Nordic under certain conditions and is currently preparing for commercialization in the Nordics together with Eisai. BioArctic has no development costs for lecanemab in Alzheimer's disease and is entitled to payments in connection with regulatory approvals and sales milestones as well as royalties on global sales.



LEQEMBI is indicated for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Treatment with LEQEMBI should be initiated in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia stage of disease, the population in which treatment was initiated in clinical trials. There are no safety or effectiveness data on initiating treatment at earlier or later stages of the disease than were studied. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on reduction in amyloid beta plaques observed in patients treated with LEQEMBI. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial.



Amyloid Related Imaging Abnormalities

LEQEMBI can cause amyloid related imaging abnormalities-edema (ARIA-E) and -hemosiderin deposition (ARIA-H). ARIA-E can be observed on MRI as brain edema or sulcal effusions, and ARIA-H as microhemorrhage and superficial siderosis. ARIA is usually asymptomatic, although serious and life-threatening events, including seizure and status epilepticus, rarely can occur. Reported symptoms associated with ARIA may include headache, confusion, visual changes, dizziness, nausea, and gait difficulty. Focal neurologic deficits may also occur. Symptoms associated with ARIA usually resolve over time.

ARIA Monitoring and Dose Management Guidelines

Obtain recent (within one year) brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prior to initiating treatment with LEQEMBI. 

Obtain an MRI prior to the 5th, 7th, and 14th infusions.

Recommendations for dosing in patients with ARIA-E and ARIA-H depend on clinical symptoms and radiographic severity. Depending on ARIA severity, use clinical judgment in considering whether to continue dosing, temporarily discontinue treatment, or permanently discontinue LEQEMBI.

Enhanced clinical vigilance for ARIA is recommended during the first 14 weeks of treatment with LEQEMBI. If a patient experiences symptoms suggestive of ARIA, clinical evaluation should be performed, including MRI if indicated. If ARIA is observed on MRI, careful clinical evaluation should be performed prior to continuing treatment.

There is no experience in patients who continued dosing through symptomatic ARIA-E or through asymptomatic, but radiographically severe, ARIA-E. There is limited experience in patients who continued dosing through asymptomatic but radiographically mild to moderate ARIA-E. There are limited data in dosing patients who experienced recurrent ARIA-E.

Incidence of ARIA

In Study 1 (Study 201), symptomatic ARIA occurred in 3% (5/161) of LEQEMBI-treated patients. Clinical symptoms associated with ARIA resolved in 80% of patients during the period of observation.

Including asymptomatic cases, ARIA was observed in LEQEMBI: 12% (20/161); placebo: 5% (13/245). ARIA-E was observed in LEQEMBI: 10% (16/161); placebo: 1% (2/245). ARIA-H was observed in LEQEMBI: 6% (10/161); placebo: 5% (12/245). 

There was no increase in isolated ARIA-H for LEQEMBI compared to placebo.

Intracerebral hemorrhage >1 cm in diameter was reported after one treatment in LEQEMBI: 1 patient; placebo: zero patients. Events of intracerebral hemorrhage, including fatal events, in patients taking LEQEMBI have also been reported in other studies.

Apolipoprotein E ε4 (ApoE ε4) Carrier Status and Risk of ARIA

In Study 1, 6% (10/161) of patients in the LEQEMBI group were ApoE ε4 homozygotes, 24% (39/161) were heterozygotes, and 70% (112/161) were noncarriers.

The incidence of ARIA was higher in ApoE ε4 homozygotes than in heterozygotes and noncarriers among patients treated with LEQEMBI. Of the 5 LEQEMBI-treated patients who had symptomatic ARIA, 4 were ApoE ε4 homozygotes, 2 of whom experienced severe symptoms. An increased incidence of symptomatic and overall ARIA in ApoE ε4 homozygotes compared to heterozygotes and noncarriers in LEQEMBI-treated patients has been reported in other studies.

The recommendations on management of ARIA do not differ between ApoE ε4 carriers and noncarriers.

Consider testing for ApoE ε4 status to inform the risk of developing ARIA when deciding to initiate treatment with LEQEMBI.

Radiographic Findings

The majority of ARIA-E radiographic events occurred early in treatment (within the first 7 doses), although ARIA can occur at any time and patients can have more than 1 episode. The maximum radiographic severity of ARIA-E in patients treated with LEQEMBI was mild in 4% (7/161) of patients, moderate in 4% (7/161) of patients, and severe in 1% (2/161) of patients. Resolution on MRI occurred in 62% of ARIA-E patients by 12 weeks, 81% by 21 weeks, and 94% overall after detection. The maximum radiographic severity of ARIA-H microhemorrhage in patients treated with LEQEMBI was mild in 4% (7/161) of patients and severe in 1% (2/161) of patients; 1 of the 10 patients with ARIA-H had mild superficial siderosis.

Concomitant Antithrombotic Medication and Other Risk Factors for Intracerebral Hemorrhage

Patients were excluded from enrollment in Study 1 for baseline use of anticoagulant medications. Antiplatelet medications such as aspirin and clopidogrel were allowed. If anticoagulant medication was used because of intercurrent medical events that required treatment for ≤4 weeks, treatment with LEQEMBI was to be temporarily suspended.

Most exposures to antithrombotic medications were to aspirin; few patients were exposed to other antiplatelet drugs or anticoagulants, limiting any meaningful conclusions about the risk of ARIA or intracerebral hemorrhage in patients taking other antiplatelet drugs or anticoagulants. Because intracerebral hemorrhages >1 cm in diameter have been observed in patients taking LEQEMBI, additional caution should be exercised when considering the administration of antithrombotics or a thrombolytic agent (e.g., tissue plasminogen activator) to a patient already being treated with LEQEMBI.

Patients were excluded from enrollment in Study 1 for the following risk factors for intracerebral hemorrhage: prior cerebral hemorrhage >1 cm in greatest diameter, more than 4 microhemorrhages, superficial siderosis, evidence of vasogenic edema, evidence of cerebral contusion, aneurysm, vascular malformation, infective lesions, multiple lacunar infarcts or stroke involving a major vascular territory, and severe small vessel or white matter disease. Caution should be exercised when considering the use of LEQEMBI in patients with these risk factors.

Infusion-Related Reactions

Infusion-related reactions were observed in LEQEMBI: 20% (32/161); placebo: 3% (8/245); and the majority of cases in LEQEMBI-treated patients (88%, 28/32) occurred with the first infusion. All infusion-related reactions were mild (56%) or moderate (44%) in severity. Infusion-related reactions resulted in discontinuations in 2% (4/161) of patients treated with LEQEMBI. Symptoms of infusion-related reactions included fever and flu-like symptoms (chills, generalized aches, feeling shaky, and joint pain), nausea, vomiting, hypotension, hypertension, and oxygen desaturation.

After the first infusion, 38% of LEQEMBI-treated patients had transient decreased lymphocyte counts to <0.9 x109/L compared to 2% on placebo, and 22% of LEQEMBI-treated patients had transient increased neutrophil counts to >7.9 x109/L compared to 1% on placebo.

In the event of an infusion-related reaction, the infusion rate may be reduced, or the infusion may be discontinued, and appropriate therapy initiated as clinically indicated. 

Prophylactic treatment with antihistamines, acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or corticosteroids prior to future infusions may be considered.

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