Basel, 08 December 2016
Roche announces European approval of Venclyxto for people with hard-to-treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced today that the European Commission has granted conditional marketing approval for Venclyxto™ (venetoclax) for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in the presence of 17p deletion or TP53 mutation in people who are unsuitable for or have failed a B-cell receptor pathway inhibitor; and for the treatment of CLL without 17p deletion or TP53 mutation in people who have failed both chemo-immunotherapy and a B-cell receptor pathway inhibitor. Conditional marketing authorisation is granted for medicines where the benefit of immediate availability outweighs the risk of less comprehensive data than normally required. Although CLL is generally considered incurable, people with CLL with certain chromosomal abnormalities or those who have failed prior therapy are in particular need of new treatment options as the disease is more difficult to treat and further options are limited. Venclyxto is being co-developed by AbbVie and Roche. It is jointly commercialised by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the United States and commercialised by AbbVie outside of the United States.
Venclyxto is marketed as Venclexta® in the United States. Venclexta received accelerated approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April of this year for the treatment of people with CLL with 17p deletion, as detected by an FDA approved test, who have received at least one prior therapy. Venclexta/Venclyxto is the first approved medicine designed to trigger a natural process that helps cells self-destruct, providing a new way to help people who received previous treatment for their CLL or who have a high-risk form of CLL.
About Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)
CLL is the most common type of leukaemia in the Western world. CLL mainly affects men and the median age at diagnosis is about 70 years. Worldwide, the incidence of all leukaemias is estimated to be over 350,000 and CLL is estimated to affect around one-third of all people newly diagnosed with leukaemia. Although signs of CLL may disappear for a period of time after initial treatment, the disease is considered incurable and many people will require additional treatment due to the return of cancerous cells.
In certain cases of CLL, a part of chromosome 17 is lost and along with it an important gene that controls apoptosis (programmed cell death) called p53. The 17p deletion is found in 3 to 10 percent of previously untreated cases and up to 30 to 50 percent of relapsed or refractory cases.
Venclexta/Venclyxto is a small molecule designed to selectively bind and inhibit the BCL-2 protein, which plays an important role in a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death). Overexpression of the BCL-2 protein in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) has been associated with resistance to certain therapies. It is believed that blocking BCL-2 may restore the signalling system that tells cells, including cancer cells, to self-destruct. Venclexta/Venclyxto is being co-developed by AbbVie and Roche. Together, the companies are committed to research with Venclexta/Venclyxto, which is currently being evaluated in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of relapsed, refractory and previously untreated CLL, along with studies in several other cancers. Venclexta/Venclyxto is jointly commercialised by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the United States and commercialised by AbbVie outside of the United States.
About Roche in haematology
For more than 20 years, Roche has been developing medicines that redefine treatment in haematology. Today, we are investing more than ever in our effort to bring innovative treatment options to people with diseases of the blood. In addition to approved medicines MabThera®/Rituxan® (rituximab), Gazyva®/Gazyvaro® (obinutuzumab), and Venclexta®/Venclyxto™ (venetoclax) in collaboration with AbbVie, Roche’s pipeline of investigational haematology medicines includes Tecentriq® (atezolizumab), an anti-CD79b antibody drug conjugate (polatuzumab vedotin/RG7596) and a small molecule antagonist of MDM2 (idasanutlin/RG7388). Roche’s dedication to developing novel molecules in haematology expands beyond malignancy, with the development of the investigational haemophilia A treatment emicizumab (ACE910).
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The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2015 employed more than 91,700 people worldwide. In 2015, Roche invested CHF 9.3 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 48.1 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.
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