Novartis Kisqali® received FDA Breakthrough Therapy designation for initial endocrine-based treatment in premenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer

NovartisNovartis today announced Kisqali® (ribociclib) received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Breakthrough Therapy designation for initial endocrine-based treatment of pre- or perimenopausal women with hormone-receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer in combination with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor.

This Breakthrough Therapy designation is based on positive results of the Phase III MONALEESA-7 trial demonstrating Kisqali in combination with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine-based therapy significantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) compared to endocrine therapy alone (median PFS 23.8 (95% CI: 19.2 months-not reached) vs. 13.0 months (95% CI: 11.0-16.4 months); HR=0.553; 95% CI: 0.441-0.694; p<0.0001)[1]. A total of 672 women ranging from 25-58 years in age were enrolled and randomized in the trial[1]. All treatment combinations also included goserelin[1]. Treatment benefit with Kisqali combination therapy was consistent compared to the overall population regardless of treatment with tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitor endocrine partners, and across predefined patient subgroups[1].

"This Breakthrough Therapy designation reflects the significance and promise of the MONALEESA-7 data presented at SABCS last month," said Samit Hirawat, MD, Head, Novartis Oncology Global Drug Development. "Younger women often have distinct treatment goals and needs, and it is important for oncologists to offer effective and well-studied treatment options for their specific disease. We look forward to working with FDA to make this combination therapy available to premenopausal women living with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer in the US as soon as possible."

MONALEESA-7 was the first Phase III trial entirely dedicated to evaluating a CDK4/6 inhibitor in premenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer. The trial evaluated Kisqali in combination with oral endocrine therapies (tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor) and goserelin compared to oral endocrine therapy and goserelin in this patient population. In subgroup analyses of median PFS by endocrine partner, Kisqali in combination with tamoxifen and goserelin demonstrated 22.1 months median PFS compared to 11.0 months for tamoxifen and goserelin alone; Kisqali in combination with an aromatase inhibitor and goserelin demonstrated 27.5 months median PFS compared to 13.8 months for an aromatase inhibitor and goserelin alone[1].

No new safety signals were observed in the MONALEESA-7 trial; adverse events were generally consistent with those observed in MONALEESA-2, identified early and mostly managed through dose interruptions or reductions[1]. Combination treatment with Kisqali was well tolerated with a discontinuation rate due to adverse events of 3.6% compared to 3.0% in patients who received endocrine therapy alone[1]. The most common (>=5%) grade 3/4 adverse events in patients receiving Kisqali combination therapy compared to endocrine therapy alone were neutropenia (60.6% vs 3.6%) and leukopenia (14.3% vs 1.2%)[1].

Premenopausal breast cancer is a biologically distinct and more aggressive disease than postmenopausal breast cancer, and it is the leading cause of cancer death in women 20-59 years old[2],[3].

According to FDA, Breakthrough Therapy designation is intended to expedite the development and review of potential new medicines that treat serious or life-threatening conditions, if the therapy has demonstrated substantial improvement over an available therapy on at least one clinically significant endpoint. The designation includes all of the Fast Track program features, as well as more intensive FDA guidance on an efficient drug development program[4].

This Breakthrough Therapy designation marks the second for Kisqali. The first Breakthrough Therapy designation for Kisqali was granted in August 2016 based on results of the Phase III MONALEESA-2 trial.

About MONALEESA-7

MONALEESA-7 is a Phase III randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the efficacy and safety of Kisqali in combination with tamoxifen or a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor plus goserelin versus tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor plus goserelin, in premenopausal or perimenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer who had not previously received endocrine therapy for advanced disease. More than 670 women ranging from 25-58 years in age were randomized in the MONALEESA-7 trial.

About Kisqali® (ribociclib)

Kisqali is a selective cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, a class of drugs that help slow the progression of cancer by inhibiting two proteins called cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 (CDK4/6). These proteins, when over-activated, can enable cancer cells to grow and divide too quickly. Targeting CDK4/6 with enhanced precision may play a role in ensuring that cancer cells do not continue to replicate uncontrollably.

Kisqali was approved by the European Commission in August 2017, as initial endocrine-based therapy for postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2- locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer in combination with an aromatase inhibitor based on findings from the pivotal MONALEESA-2 trial. Kisqali is not currently approved for use in premenopausal women.

Kisqali is approved for use in 45 countries around the world, including the United States and European Union member states. Kisqali was developed by the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) under a research collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals.

About Novartis in Advanced Breast Cancer

For more than 25 years, Novartis has been at the forefront of driving scientific advancements for breast cancer patients and improving clinical practice in collaboration with the global community. With one of the most diverse breast cancer pipelines and the largest number of breast cancer compounds in development, Novartis leads the industry in discovery of new therapies and combinations, especially in HR+ advanced breast cancer, the most common form of the disease.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 121,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world.

1. Tripathy D, Sohn J, Im S, et al. First-line ribociclib or placebo combined with goserelin and tamoxifen or a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor in premenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer: results from the randomized Phase III MONALEESA-7 trial. Presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), December 6, 2017, San Antonio, Texas (abstract#S2-05).
2. World Health Organization. Women's health fact sheet. September 2013. Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs334/en/. Accessed October 2017.
3. Benz CC. Impact of aging on the biology of breast cancer. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2008;66:65-74
4. US Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry Expedited Programs for Serious Conditions - Drugs and Biologics. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM358301.pdf. Accessed December 2017.

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