BASEL, Switzerland & CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & BEIJING–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BeiGene (NASDAQ: BGNE; HKEX: 06160; SSE: 688235), a global, science-driven biotechnology company focused on developing innovative and affordable medicines, today announced that BeiGene’s BTK inhibitor BRUKINSA (zanubrutinib) received approval from Swissmedic for the treatment of adult patients with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM) who have received at least one prior line of therapy, or for treatment-naïve patients who are not suited for standard chemo-immunotherapy. BRUKINSA had previously been granted orphan drug status.
“The authorization of BRUKINSA will bring a new option and an innovative medicine that has potential to offer deep and durable response for eligible patients with WM in Switzerland,” said Pr. Davide Rossi, Deputy Head of the Division of Hematology of the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland IOSI. “BRUKINSA is a next-generation BTK inhibitor which has also provided meaningful improvements in tolerability for some patients with WM compared to ibrutinib, as treatment discontinuation remains a concern.”
Reto Kessler, Country Manager, Switzerland at BeiGene added, “This approval is a significant development for people living with WM in Switzerland and for BeiGene’s expansion in Europe. Our teams are committed to collaborating with the Federal Office of Public Health and healthcare professionals to ensure access to BRUKINSA for patients in Switzerland.”
The Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) is supported by data from the global Phase 3 ASPEN clinical trial, a Phase 3 randomized, open-label, multicenter trial (NCT03053440) that evaluated BRUKINSA compared to ibrutinib in patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) or treatment-naïve (TN) WM who harbor a MYD88 mutation (MYD88MUT). In the ASPEN trial, BRUKINSA demonstrated a numerically higher very good partial response (VGPR) rate and a favorable safety profile over ibrutinib, although the primary endpoint of statistical superiority related to deep response (VGPR or better) was not met. As assessed by independent review committee (IRC) per adaptation of the response criteria updated at the Sixth International Workshop on Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia (IWWM), the combined complete response (CR) + VGPR rate in the overall intention-to-treat (ITT) population was 29% with BRUKINSA (95% CI: 20, 40), compared to 19% with ibrutinib (95% CI: 12, 30).
In the ASPEN trial, of the 101 patients with WM randomized and treated with BRUKINSA, four percent of patients discontinued due to adverse events, including cardiomegaly, neutropenia, plasma cell myeloma, and subdural hemorrhage. Adverse events leading to dose reduction occurred in 14% of patients, with the most common being neutropenia (3%) and diarrhea (2%).
The recommended dose of BRUKINSA is either 160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily, taken orally with or without food. The dose may be adjusted for adverse reactions and reduced for patients with severe hepatic impairment and certain drug interactions.
About Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia
WM is a rare B-cell lymphoma that occurs in less than two percent of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphomas.2 The disease usually affects older adults and is primarily found in bone marrow, although lymph nodes and the spleen may be involved.1 Throughout Europe, the estimated incidence rate of WM is approximately seven for every one million men and four for every one million women.2
BRUKINSA is a small molecule inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) discovered by BeiGene scientists that is currently being evaluated globally in a broad clinical program as a monotherapy and in combination with other therapies to treat various B-cell malignancies. Because new BTK is continuously synthesized, BRUKINSA was specifically designed to deliver complete and sustained inhibition of the BTK protein by optimizing bioavailability, half-life, and selectivity. With differentiated pharmacokinetics compared to other approved BTK inhibitors, BRUKINSA has been demonstrated to inhibit the proliferation of malignant B cells within a number of disease relevant tissues.
BRUKINSA is supported by a broad clinical program which includes more than 3,900 subjects in 35 trials across 28 markets. To date, BRUKINSA has received more than 20 approvals covering more than 40 countries and regions, including the U.S., European Union, China, Australia, Great Britain and Switzerland. Currently, more than 40 additional regulatory submissions are in review around the world.
BeiGene is committed to advancing best- and first-in-class clinical candidates internally or with like-minded partners to develop impactful and affordable medicines for patients across the globe. We have a growing R&D and medical affairs team of approximately 2,900 colleagues dedicated to advancing more than 100 clinical trials that have involved more than 14,500 subjects. Our expansive portfolio is directed predominantly by our internal colleagues supporting clinical trials in more than 45 countries and regions. Hematology-oncology and solid tumor targeted therapies and immuno-oncology are key focus areas for the Company, with both mono- and combination therapies prioritized in our research and development. BeiGene currently has three approved medicines discovered and developed in our own labs: BTK inhibitor BRUKINSA in the United States, China, the EU and U.K., Canada, Australia and additional international markets; and the non-FC-gamma receptor binding anti-PD-1 antibody tislelizumab as well as the PARP inhibitor pamiparib in China.
BeiGene also partners with innovative companies who share our goal of developing therapies to address global health needs. We commercialize a range of oncology medicines in China licensed from Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, EUSA Pharma and Bio-Thera. We also plan to address greater areas of unmet need globally through our other collaborations including with Mirati Therapeutics, Seagen, and Zymeworks.
In January 2021 BeiGene and Novartis announced a collaboration granting Novartis rights to co-develop, manufacture, and commercialize BeiGene’s anti-PD1 antibody tislelizumab in North America, Europe, and Japan. Building upon this productive collaboration, including a biologics license application (BLA) under FDA review, BeiGene and Novartis announced an option, collaboration and license agreement in December 2021 for BeiGene’s TIGIT inhibitor ociperlimab that is in Phase 3 development. Novartis and BeiGene also entered into a strategic commercial agreement through which BeiGene will promote five approved Novartis Oncology products across designated regions of China.
BeiGene is a global, science-driven biotechnology company focused on developing innovative and affordable medicines to improve treatment outcomes and access for patients worldwide. With a broad portfolio of more than 40 clinical candidates, we are expediting development of our diverse pipeline of novel therapeutics through our own capabilities and collaborations. We are committed to radically improving access to medicines for two billion more people by 2030. BeiGene has a growing global team of over 8,000 colleagues across five continents. To learn more about BeiGene, please visit www.beigene.com and follow us on Twitter at @BeiGeneGlobal.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws, including statements regarding plans for development and commercialization of BRUKINSA in Switzerland and other markets, plans for making BRUKINSA accessible to patients in Switzerland, the potential for BRUKINSA to provide improved clinical benefit to patients, and BeiGene’s plans, commitments, aspirations and goals under the headings “BeiGene Oncology” and “About BeiGene”. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including BeiGene’s ability to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its drug candidates; the clinical results for its drug candidates, which may not support further development or marketing approval; actions of regulatory agencies, which may affect the initiation, timing and progress of clinical trials and marketing approval; BeiGene’s ability to achieve commercial success for its marketed medicines and drug candidates, if approved; BeiGene’s ability to obtain and maintain protection of intellectual property for its medicines and technology; BeiGene’s reliance on third parties to conduct drug development, manufacturing and other services; BeiGene’s limited experience in obtaining regulatory approvals and commercializing pharmaceutical products and its ability to obtain additional funding for operations and to complete the development and commercialization of its drug candidates and achieve and maintain profitability; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the BeiGene’s clinical development, regulatory, commercial, and other operations, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in BeiGene’s most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q as well as discussions of potential risks, uncertainties, and other important factors in BeiGene’s subsequent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and BeiGene undertakes no duty to update such information unless required by law.
References: Product information available at request at BeiGene Switzerland GmbH.
1 Lymphoma Research Foundation. Getting the Facts: Waldenström Macroglobulinemia. Accessed July 2021. Available at https://lymphoma.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/LRF_Factsheet_Waldenstro%CC%88m-Macroglobulinemia_090920.pdf.
2 Buske, C, et al. Treatment and outcome patterns in European patients with Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia: a large, observational, retrospective chart review. The Lancet Haematology 2018; 5: e0299-309.
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