CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genzyme, a Sanofi company, today announced that the first U.S. patients have initiated treatment with Lemtrada® (alemtuzumab) in the commercial setting following its November 14th FDA approval for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Because of its safety profile, the use of Lemtrada should generally be reserved for patients who have had an inadequate response to two or more drugs indicated for the treatment of MS.
“As an investigator in the Phase III clinical development program with firsthand experience, I have been awaiting the ability to prescribe Lemtrada to patients in my practice who could potentially benefit from this treatment,” said Christopher LaGanke, M.D., founder of North Central Neurology Associates in Cullman, Ala. “Following REMS training and certification, I am excited that I was able to become the first physician to initiate patient treatment in the United States.”
Lemtrada has a unique dosing and administration schedule of two annual treatment courses. The first treatment course is administered via intravenous infusion on five consecutive days, and the second course is administered on three consecutive days, 12 months later.
The FDA approval of Lemtrada was based on two pivotal randomized Phase III open-label rater-blinded studies comparing treatment with Lemtrada to Rebif® (high-dose subcutaneous interferon beta-1a) in patients with relapsing remitting MS who were either new to treatment (CARE-MS I) or who had relapsed while on prior therapy (CARE-MS II).
In CARE-MS I, Lemtrada was significantly more effective than interferon beta-1a at reducing annualized relapse rates; the difference observed in slowing disability progression did not reach statistical significance. In CARE-MS II, Lemtrada was significantly more effective than interferon beta-1a at reducing annualized relapse rates, and accumulation of disability was significantly slowed in patients given Lemtrada vs. interferon beta-1a. The clinical development program for Lemtrada involved nearly 1,500 patients with more than 6,400 patient-years of safety follow-up.
“Since approval, we have been singularly focused on providing access as quickly as possible for those patients awaiting Lemtrada by ensuring drug availability, completing required REMS training and certifications, and establishing appropriate patient support,” said Bill Sibold, Head of Genzyme’s Multiple Sclerosis business.
The Lemtrada label includes a boxed warning noting a risk of serious, sometimes fatal autoimmune conditions, serious and life-threatening infusion reactions and also noting Lemtrada may cause an increased risk of malignancies including thyroid cancer, melanoma and lymphoproliferative disorders.
The most common side effects of Lemtrada are rash, headache, pyrexia, nasopharyngitis, nausea, urinary tract infection, fatigue, insomnia, upper respiratory tract infection, herpes viral infection, urticaria, pruritus, thyroid gland disorders, fungal infection, arthralgia, pain in extremity, back pain, diarrhea, sinusitis, oropharyngeal pain, paresthesia, dizziness, abdominal pain, flushing, and vomiting. Other serious side effects associated with Lemtrada include autoimmune thyroid disease, autoimmune cytopenias, infections and pneumonitis.
Lemtrada is only available through a restricted distribution program, the Lemtrada REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy). This program has been developed to ensure that access to Lemtrada in the U.S. is only through certified prescribers, healthcare facilities and pharmacies and to also ensure that patients are enrolled in the REMS program. The program is intended to help educate healthcare providers and patients on the serious risks associated with Lemtrada and the appropriate periodic monitoring required to support the detection of these risks for 48 months after the last infusion. The REMS is based on a developmental risk management program that was successfully implemented in the Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials and allowed for early detection and management of some of the serious risks associated with Lemtrada.
As part of its continued commitment to MS patients, Genzyme’s MS One to One® program will provide information about multiple sclerosis, Lemtrada and other relevant resources. MS One to One is available and staffed by dedicated MS nurses and highly trained representatives who can provide support for individuals living with MS, their health care providers, family and loved ones. For more information about these support services, call the MS One to One line at 1-855-MSOne2One (1-855-676-6326) Monday through Friday, from 8:30am – 8:00pm ET. Information and support are also available at www.MSOnetoOne.com
First approved in September 2013 in the European Union, Lemtrada is approved in more than 40 countries. Additional marketing applications for Lemtrada are under review by regulatory agencies around the world.
Multiple sclerosis is estimated to affect more than 2.3 million people globally. There are approximately 400,000 people living with MS in the United States.
Important Safety Information About Lemtrada for U.S. Patients
Serious and life-threatening autoimmune conditions such as immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and anti-glomerular basement membrane disease can occur in patients receiving Lemtrada. Monitor complete blood counts with differential, serum creatinine levels, and urinalysis with urine cell counts at periodic intervals in patients who receive Lemtrada. Lemtrada is associated with serious and life-threatening infusion reactions. Lemtrada can only be administered in certified healthcare settings that have on-site access to equipment and personnel trained to manage anaphylaxis and serious infusion reactions. Lemtrada may be associated with an increased risk of malignancy, including thyroid cancer, melanoma and lymphoproliferative disorders. The Lemtrada REMS Program, a comprehensive risk management program with frequent monitoring, is being implemented to help mitigate these serious risks.
The Lemtrada label includes a boxed warning noting a risk of serious, sometimes fatal autoimmune conditions, serious and life-threatening infusion reactions and also noting Lemtrada may cause an increased risk of malignancies including thyroid cancer, melanoma and lymphoproliferative disorders. Lemtrada is contraindicated in patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.
U.S. Indication and Usage
Lemtrada is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Because of its safety profile, the use of Lemtrada should generally be reserved for patients who have had an inadequate response to two or more drugs indicated for the treatment of MS.
Please visit www.lemtrada.com for full U.S. Prescribing Information for Lemtrada, including boxed warning and contraindications.
About Lemtrada® (alemtuzumab)
Alemtuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets CD52, a protein abundant on T and B cells. Circulating T and B cells are thought to be responsible for the damaging inflammatory process in MS. Alemtuzumab depletes circulating T and B lymphocytes after each treatment course. Lymphocyte counts then increase over time with a reconstitution of the lymphocyte population that varies for the different lymphocyte subtypes.
In CARE-MS I, Lemtrada was significantly more effective than interferon beta-1a at reducing annualized relapse rate (0.18 for Lemtrada and 0.39 for interferon beta-1a (p<0.0001) a 55 percent relative reduction. The difference observed in proportion of patients with disability progression at year two did not reach statistical significance (8 percent for Lemtrada and 11 percent for interferon beta 1-a (p=0.22)), a relative risk reduction of 30 percent. The percent of patients remaining relapse-free at year two for Lemtrada was 78 percent vs. 59 percent for interferon beta-1a (p<0.0001). The percent change in T2 lesion volume from baseline did not reach statistical significance (-9.3 for Lemtrada and -6.5 for interferon beta 1-a, p=0.31).
In CARE-MS II, Lemtrada was significantly more effective than interferon beta-1a at reducing annualized relapse rates (0.26 for Lemtrada and 0.52 for interferon beta 1-a, p<0.0001, a 49 percent relative reduction). The proportion of patients with confirmed six-month disability progression was significantly lower for Lemtrada (13 percent for Lemtrada vs. 21 percent for interferon beta 1-a, p=0.0084), a 42 percent relative risk reduction. The percent of patients remaining relapse-free at year two for Lemtrada was 65 percent vs. 47 percent for interferon beta-1a (p<0.0001). The percent change in T2 lesion volume from baseline did not reach statistical significance (-1.3 for Lemtrada and -1.2 for interferon beta 1-a, p=0.14).
Genzyme holds the worldwide rights to alemtuzumab and has responsibility for its development and commercialization in multiple sclerosis. Bayer Healthcare receives contingent payments based on global sales revenue.
About Genzyme, a Sanofi Company
Genzyme has pioneered the development and delivery of transformative therapies for patients affected by rare and debilitating diseases for over 30 years. We accomplish our goals through world-class research and with the compassion and commitment of our employees. With a focus on rare diseases and multiple sclerosis, we are dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of the patients and families we serve. That goal guides and inspires us every day. Genzyme’s portfolio of transformative therapies, which are marketed in countries around the world, represents groundbreaking and life-saving advances in medicine. As a Sanofi company, Genzyme benefits from the reach and resources of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, with a shared commitment to improving the lives of patients. Learn more at www.genzyme.com.
Sanofi, a global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
Genzyme®, Lemtrada® and MS One to One® are registered trademarks of Genzyme Corporation. Rebif® is a registered trademark of EMD Serono, Inc. All rights reserved.
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