The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Press release from Business Wire

Seattle Genetics and Millennium Complete Enrollment in Phase III AETHERA Trial of ADCETRIS® for Post-Transplant Patients with Hodgkin Lymphoma

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seattle Genetics and Millennium Complete Enrollment in Phase III AETHERA Trial of ADCETRIS® for Post-Transplant Patients with Hodgkin Lymphoma09:00 EDT Tuesday, September 25, 2012 CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & BOTHELL, Wash. (Business Wire) -- Seattle Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGEN) and Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502), today announced the completion of patient enrollment in a phase III clinical trial of ADCETRIS (brentuximab vedotin) for post-transplant Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients. The phase III trial, also known as the AETHERA trial, is evaluating ADCETRIS versus placebo for the treatment of patients at high risk of residual Hodgkin lymphoma following autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT). ADCETRIS is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) directed to CD30, a defining marker of classical HL. “We are pleased to complete the enrollment of this important phase III trial, evaluating the use of ADCETRIS for Hodgkin lymphoma patients who are at high risk of residual disease following an ASCT,” said Thomas C. Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of Seattle Genetics. “The AETHERA trial is designed to provide the medical community with valuable insight into the potential for ADCETRIS to consolidate responses in Hodgkin lymphoma patients following a transplant, and will be the first data on the use of ADCETRIS in a maintenance-type setting. We anticipate data from this trial will be available in late 2013 or early 2014.” “Completing enrollment of the AETHERA trial in the post-transplant Hodgkin lymphoma patient population at high risk for residual disease is a significant milestone for our ADCETRIS clinical development program,” said Karen Ferrante, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Millennium. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partner Seattle Genetics to determine the potential benefit of this targeted treatment in other CD30-expressing tumors.” The AETHERA trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III study, comparing progression-free survival in 329 post-ASCT patients receiving ADCETRIS to those receiving placebo. Patients must be at high risk for residual HL, defined as those with a history of refractory HL, those who relapse or progress within one year from receiving front-line chemotherapy and/or those who have disease outside of the lymph nodes at the time of pre-ASCT relapse. Secondary endpoints of the trial include overall survival, safety and tolerability. Patients receive ADCETRIS every three weeks for up to approximately one year. This international multi-center trial is being conducted in the United States, Europe and Russia. About ADCETRIS ADCETRIS (brentuximab vedotin) is an ADC comprising an anti-CD30 monoclonal antibody attached by a protease-cleavable linker to a microtubule disrupting agent, monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE), utilizing Seattle Genetics' proprietary technology. The ADC employs a linker system that is designed to be stable in the bloodstream but to release MMAE upon internalization into CD30-expressing tumor cells. ADCETRIS received accelerated approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two indications: (1) the treatment of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma after failure of autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) or after failure of at least two prior multi-agent chemotherapy regimens in patients who are not ASCT candidates, and (2) the treatment of patients with systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (sALCL) after failure of at least one prior multi-agent chemotherapy regimen. The indications for ADCETRIS are based on response rate. There are no data available demonstrating improvement in patient-reported outcomes or survival with ADCETRIS. ADCETRIS is not approved for use outside the United States. The marketing authorization application for ADCETRIS in relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma and sALCL, filed by Takeda Global Research & Development Centre (Europe), was accepted for review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in June 2011. In July 2012, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the EMA issued a positive opinion for the conditional approval of ADCETRIS, supporting an approval decision in the European Union. Seattle Genetics and Millennium are jointly developing ADCETRIS. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Seattle Genetics has U.S. and Canadian commercialization rights and the Takeda Group has rights to commercialize ADCETRIS in the rest of the world. Seattle Genetics and the Takeda Group are funding joint development costs for ADCETRIS on a 50:50 basis, except in Japan where the Takeda Group will be solely responsible for development costs. About Hodgkin Lymphoma Lymphoma is a general term for a group of cancers that originate in the lymphatic system. There are two major categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma is distinguished from other types of lymphoma by the presence of one characteristic type of cell, known as the Reed-Sternberg cell. The Reed-Sternberg cell generally expresses CD30. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 8,800 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma will be diagnosed in the United States during 2012 and approximately 1,300 people will die from the disease. Globally, there are more than 30,000 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed each year. Although front-line combination chemotherapy can result in durable response rates, up to 30 percent of these patients relapse or are refractory to front-line treatment and have few therapeutic options beyond ASCT. About Seattle Genetics Seattle Genetics is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of monoclonal antibody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval of ADCETRIS in August 2011 for two indications. ADCETRIS is being developed in collaboration with Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company. In addition, Seattle Genetics has three other clinical-stage ADC programs: SGN-75, ASG-5ME and ASG-22ME. Seattle Genetics has collaborations for its ADC technology with a number of leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott, Agensys (an affiliate of Astellas), Bayer, Celldex Therapeutics, Daiichi Sankyo, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Millennium, Pfizer and Progenics, as well as ADC co-development agreements with Agensys and Genmab. More information can be found at www.seattlegenetics.com. About Millennium Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, a leading biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Mass., markets VELCADE, a first-in-class proteasome inhibitor, and has a robust clinical development pipeline of product candidates. Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. in May, 2008. The Company's research, development and commercialization activities are focused in oncology. Additional information about Millennium is available through its website, www.millennium.com. U.S. Important Safety InformationBOXED WARNING Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML): JC virus infection resulting in PML and death can occur in patients receiving ADCETRIS. Contraindication: Concomitant use of ADCETRIS and bleomycin is contraindicated due to pulmonary toxicity. Warnings and Precautions: Peripheral neuropathy: ADCETRIS treatment causes a peripheral neuropathy that is predominantly sensory. Cases of peripheral motor neuropathy have also been reported. ADCETRIS-induced peripheral neuropathy is cumulative. Treating physicians should monitor patients for symptoms of neuropathy, such as hypoesthesia, hyperesthesia, paresthesia, discomfort, a burning sensation, neuropathic pain or weakness and institute dose modifications accordingly. Infusion reactions: Infusion-related reactions, including anaphylaxis, have occurred with ADCETRIS. Monitor patients during infusion. If an infusion reaction occurs, the infusion should be interrupted and appropriate medical management instituted. If anaphylaxis occurs, the infusion should be immediately and permanently discontinued and appropriate medical management instituted. Neutropenia: Monitor complete blood counts prior to each dose of ADCETRIS and consider more frequent monitoring for patients with Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia. If Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia develops, manage by dose delays, reductions or discontinuation. Prolonged (≥1 week) severe neutropenia can occur with ADCETRIS. Tumor lysis syndrome: Patients with rapidly proliferating tumor and high tumor burden are at risk of tumor lysis syndrome and these patients should be monitored closely and appropriate measures taken. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML): JC virus infection resulting in PML and death has been reported in ADCETRIS-treated patients. In addition to ADCETRIS therapy, other possible contributory factors include prior therapies and underlying disease that may cause immunosuppression. Consider the diagnosis of PML in any patient presenting with new-onset signs and symptoms of central nervous system abnormalities. Evaluation of PML includes, but is not limited to, consultation with a neurologist, brain MRI, and lumbar puncture or brain biopsy. Hold ADCETRIS if PML is suspected and discontinue ADCETRIS if PML is confirmed. Stevens-Johnson syndrome: Stevens-Johnson syndrome has been reported with ADCETRIS. If Stevens-Johnson syndrome occurs, discontinue ADCETRIS and administer appropriate medical therapy. Use in pregnancy: Fetal harm can occur. Pregnant women should be advised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Adverse Reactions: ADCETRIS was studied as monotherapy in 160 patients in two phase 2 trials. Across both trials, the most common adverse reactions (≥20%), regardless of causality, were neutropenia, peripheral sensory neuropathy, fatigue, nausea, anemia, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, pyrexia, rash, thrombocytopenia, cough and vomiting. Drug Interactions: Patients who are receiving strong CYP3A4 inhibitors concomitantly with ADCETRIS should be closely monitored for adverse reactions. For additional important safety information, including Boxed WARNING, please see the full U.S. prescribing information for ADCETRIS at www.seattlegenetics.com or www.ADCETRIS.com. Certain of the statements made in this press release are forward-looking, such as those, among others, relating to the therapeutic potential of ADCETRIS and initiation of future clinical trials. Actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected or implied in these forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such a difference include the inability to show sufficient activity in the AETHERA trial and the risk of adverse events as ADCETRIS advances in clinical trials. In addition, data from our clinical trials, including our pivotal trials which were the basis for FDA accelerated approval, may not necessarily be indicative of subsequent clinical trial results. More information about the risks and uncertainties faced by Seattle Genetics is contained in the company's 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Seattle Genetics disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Seattle GeneticsInvestors:Peggy Pinkston, 425-527-4160ppinkston@seagen.comorMedia:Tricia Larson, 425-527-4180tlarson@seagen.comorMillenniumLindsay Treadway, +1-617-444-3383lindsay.treadway@mpi.com