Kite, a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD), today announced that it has submitted a supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Tecartus® (brexucabtagene autoleucel) for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The sBLA is supported by data from the Phase 1/2 ZUMA-3 trial, which are also being submitted for presentation at an upcoming scientific congress.
In 2017, Tecartus was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA for relapsed or refractory adult B-cell precursor ALL. If approved, Tecartus would become the first and only chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved for adults (≥18 years old) with relapsed or refractory ALL.
“Tecartus has already begun to transform the outlook for many patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, and we’re encouraged by the data we’ve seen in adult patients with relapsed or refractory ALL, as survival rates among these patients remain poor with the most commonly used therapeutic agents,” said Frank Neumann, MD, PhD, Kite’s Global Head of Clinical Development. “We are working closely with the FDA to progress our application and to bring the benefits of CAR T to patients with this particularly intractable leukemia.”
In July 2020, Tecartus became the first and only CAR T-cell therapy to receive accelerated approval from the FDA for the treatment of relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, based on overall response rate and durability of response. The Tecartus U.S. Prescribing Information has a Boxed Warning in its product label regarding the risks of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurologic toxicities, and Tecartus is approved with a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) due to these risks; see below for Indication and Important Safety Information.
Tecartus has not been approved by any regulatory agency for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory ALL. Its safety and efficacy have not been established in this indication.
ALL is an aggressive type of blood cancer which can also involve the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, central nervous system and other organs. Approximately 1,200 adults are treated annually for relapsed or refractory ALL. Survival rates remain very poor in adult patients with relapsed or refractory ALL, with a median overall survival of approximately eight months with the most commonly used therapeutic agents.
B-cell precursor ALL is the most common form of ALL, accounting for approximately 75 percent of cases. Treatment for this form of ALL is typically associated with inferior outcomes compared with other types of ALL.
ZUMA-3 is an ongoing international multicenter, registrational Phase 1/2 study in adult patients (≥18 years old) with ALL whose disease is refractory to or has relapsed following standard systemic therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The objectives of the study are to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Tecartus in this patient population.
Tecartus is an autologous, anti-CD19 CAR T cell therapy. Tecartus uses the XLP™ manufacturing process that includes T cell enrichment, a necessary step in certain B-cell malignancies in which circulating lymphoblasts are a common feature. In addition to adult ALL, Tecartus is also currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 trial in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and pediatric ALL. The use of Tecartus in adult ALL, pediatric ALL and CLL is investigational, and its safety and efficacy have not been established in these cancer types.
Tecartus is a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapy indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial.
U.S. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
BOXED WARNING: CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME and NEUROLOGIC TOXICITIES
- Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), including life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving Tecartus. Do not administer Tecartus to patients with active infection or inflammatory disorders. Treat severe or life-threatening CRS with tocilizumab or tocilizumab and corticosteroids.
- Neurologic toxicities, including life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving Tecartus, including concurrently with CRS or after CRS resolution. Monitor for neurologic toxicities after treatment with Tecartus. Provide supportive care and/or corticosteroids as needed.
- Tecartus is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the Yescarta and Tecartus REMS Program.
Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), including life-threatening reactions, occurred following treatment with Tecartus. In ZUMA-2, CRS occurred in 91% (75/82) of patients receiving Tecartus, including ≥ Grade 3 CRS in 18% of patients. Among the patients who died after receiving Tecartus, one had a fatal CRS event. The median time to onset of CRS was three days (range: 1 to 13 days) and the median duration of CRS was ten days (range: 1 to 50 days). Among patients with CRS, key manifestations (>10%) included fever (99%), hypotension (60%), hypoxia (37%), chills (33%), tachycardia (37%), headache (24%), fatigue (19%), nausea (13%), alanine aminotransferase increased (13%), aspartate aminotransferase increased (12%), and diarrhea (11%). Serious events associated with CRS included hypotension, fever, hypoxia, acute kidney injury, and tachycardia.
Ensure that a minimum of two doses of tocilizumab are available for each patient prior to infusion of Tecartus. Following infusion, monitor patients for signs and symptoms of CRS daily for at least seven days at the certified healthcare facility, and for four weeks thereafter. Counsel patients to seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms of CRS occur at any time. At the first sign of CRS, institute treatment with supportive care, tocilizumab, or tocilizumab and corticosteroids as indicated.
Neurologic Toxicities, including those that were life-threatening, occurred following treatment with Tecartus. In ZUMA-2, neurologic events occurred in 81% of patients, 37% of whom experienced Grade ≥3 adverse reactions. The median time to onset for neurologic events was six days (range: 1 to 32 days). Neurologic events resolved for 52 out of 66 (79%) patients with a median duration of 21 days (range: 2 to 454 days). Three patients had ongoing neurologic events at the time of death, including one patient with serious encephalopathy. The remaining unresolved neurologic events were either Grade 1 or Grade 2. Fifty-four (66%) patients experienced CRS by the onset of neurological events. Five (6%) patients did not experience CRS with neurologic events and eight patients (10%) developed neurological events after the resolution of CRS. 85% of all treated patients experienced the first CRS or neurological event within the first seven days after Tecartus infusion.
The most common neurologic events (>10%) included encephalopathy (51%), headache (35%), tremor (38%), aphasia (23%), and delirium (16%). Serious events including encephalopathy, aphasia, and seizures occurred.
Monitor patients daily for at least seven days at the certified healthcare facility and for four weeks following infusion for signs and symptoms of neurologic toxicities and treat promptly.
REMS Program: Because of the risk of CRS and neurologic toxicities, Tecartus is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the Yescarta and Tecartus REMS Program which requires that:
- Healthcare facilities that dispense and administer Tecartus must be enrolled and comply with the REMS requirements. Certified healthcare facilities must have on-site, immediate access to tocilizumab, and ensure that a minimum of two doses of tocilizumab are available for each patient for infusion within two hours after Tecartus infusion, if needed for treatment of CRS.
- Certified healthcare facilities must ensure that healthcare providers who prescribe, dispense, or administer Tecartus are trained in the management of CRS and neurologic toxicities. Further information is available at www.YescartaTecartusREMS.com or 1-844-454-KITE (5483).
Hypersensitivity Reactions: Serious hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, may occur due to dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or residual gentamicin in Tecartus.
Severe Infections: Severe or life-threatening infections occurred in patients after Tecartus infusion. In ZUMA-2, infections (all grades) occurred in 56% of patients. Grade 3 or higher infections, including bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, occurred in 30% of patients. Tecartus should not be administered to patients with clinically significant active systemic infections. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection before and after infusion and treat appropriately. Administer prophylactic antimicrobials according to local guidelines.
Febrile neutropenia was observed in 6% of patients after Tecartus infusion and may be concurrent with CRS. In the event of febrile neutropenia, evaluate for infection and manage with broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluids, and other supportive care as medically indicated.
In immunosuppressed patients, including those who have received Tecartus, life-threatening and fatal opportunistic infections, including disseminated fungal infections (eg, candida sepsis and aspergillus infections) and viral reactivation (eg, human herpes virus-6 [HHV-6] encephalitis and JC virus progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy [PML]) have been reported. The possibility of HHV-6 encephalitis and PML should be considered in immunosuppressed patients with neurologic events and appropriate diagnostic evaluations should be performed.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs directed against B cells. Perform screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV in accordance with clinical guidelines before collection of cells for manufacturing.
Prolonged Cytopenias: Patients may exhibit cytopenias for several weeks following lymphodepleting chemotherapy and Tecartus infusion. In ZUMA-2, Grade ≥3 cytopenias not resolved by Day 30 following Tecartus infusion occurred in 55% of patients and included thrombocytopenia (38%), neutropenia (37%), and anemia (17%). Monitor blood counts after infusion.
Hypogammaglobulinemia and B-cell aplasia can occur in patients receiving treatment with Tecartus. In ZUMA-2, hypogammaglobulinemia occurred in 16% of patients. Monitor immunoglobulin levels after treatment with Tecartus and manage using infection precautions, antibiotic prophylaxis, and immunoglobulin replacement. The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines during or following Tecartus treatment has not been studied. Vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended for at least six weeks prior to the start of lymphodepleting chemotherapy, during treatment, and until immune recovery following treatment with Tecartus.
Secondary Malignancies may develop. Monitor life-long for secondary malignancies. In the event that one occurs, contact Kite at 1-844-454-KITE (5483) to obtain instructions on patient samples to collect for testing.
Effects on Ability to Drive and Use Machines: Due to the potential for neurologic events, including altered mental status or seizures, patients are at risk for altered or decreased consciousness or coordination in the 8 weeks following Tecartus infusion. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous activities, such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery, during this period.
Adverse Reactions: The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 20%) were pyrexia, CRS, hypotension, encephalopathy, fatigue, tachycardia, arrhythmia, infection – pathogen unspecified, chills, hypoxia, cough, tremor, musculoskeletal pain, headache, nausea, edema, motor dysfunction, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, dyspnea, rash, insomnia, pleural effusion, and aphasia. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 66% of patients. The most common serious adverse reactions (> 2%) were encephalopathy, pyrexia, infection – pathogen unspecified, CRS, hypoxia, aphasia, renal insufficiency, pleural effusion, respiratory failure, bacterial infections, dyspnea, fatigue, arrhythmia, tachycardia, and viral infections.
Please see full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING and Medication Guide.
Kite, a Gilead Company, is a biopharmaceutical company based in Santa Monica, California, with commercial manufacturing operations in North America and Europe. Kite is engaged in the development of innovative cancer immunotherapies. The company is focused on chimeric antigen receptor and T cell receptor engineered cell therapies. For more information on Kite, please visit www.kitepharma.com.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California. For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com.
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the risk that the FDA may not approve Tecartus for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL in the anticipated timelines or at all, and any marketing approvals, if granted, may have significant limitations on its use. There is also the possibility of unfavorable results from ongoing and additional clinical trials involving Tecartus. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These and other risks are described in detail in Gilead’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Gilead and Kite, and Gilead and Kite assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.
Kite, the Kite logo, Yescarta, Tecartus, XLP and GILEAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc. or its related companies.
For more information on Kite, please visit the company’s website at www.kitepharma.com or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000. Follow Kite on social media on Twitter (@KitePharma) and LinkedIn.