Roche’s Xofluza approved by the European Commission for the treatment of influenza, the first new influenza antiviral for patients in almost 20 years
- The European Commission (EC) has approved single-dose, oral Xofluza for the treatment of uncomplicated influenza in patients aged 12 years and above
- The EC has also approved Xofluza for post-exposure prophylaxis of influenza in individuals aged 12 years and above
- Xofluza, with its rapid reduction in viral replication, could help patients recover more quickly, while also reducing the societal burden of influenza
Basel, 11 January 2021 – Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved Xofluza® (baloxavir marboxil) for the treatment of uncomplicated influenza in patients aged 12 years and above. In addition, the EC has approved Xofluza for post-exposure prophylaxis of influenza in individuals aged 12 years and above. Post-exposure prophylaxis aims to prevent influenza in individuals following contact with someone infected with the influenza virus. The Commission’s Decision follows the positive opinion received from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use in November, 2020, and is based on the results of the phase III CAPSTONE-1, CAPSTONE-2 and BLOCKSTONE studies.1,2,3 This marks the first innovation in mechanism of action for an influenza antiviral approved by the EC in almost 20 years.4
“We are delighted that the European Commission has approved Xofluza, a first-in-class, single-dose oral medicine, for the treatment of influenza,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development. “Xofluza offers patients the first novel mechanism of action for treating influenza approved in Europe in almost 20 years. With approval for both treatment and post-exposure prophylaxis, we are hopeful Xofluza will help patients recover more quickly while also reducing the societal burden of influenza, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Influenza is one of the most common, yet serious, infectious diseases, representing a significant threat to public health.5,6 Globally, seasonal influenza epidemics result in three to five million cases of severe disease, millions of hospitalisations and up to 650,000 deaths every year.7,8,9 The WHO estimates that up to 72,000 people in the Europe region die prematurely due to causes associated with influenza each year.10 Antivirals are the only effective treatment specifically designed to target and treat the influenza virus, and their use shows a significant and sustained reduction in the use of key healthcare resources, providing a relief on healthcare costs.11,12,13,14,15
CAPSTONE-1 was a phase III multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of Xofluza® (baloxavir marboxil) compared with placebo and oseltamivir in otherwise-healthy individuals with acute uncomplicated influenza, aged 12 and above in the US and Japan.
The primary endpoint of the study was time to alleviation of symptoms. Xofluza significantly reduced the duration of influenza symptoms by more than one day compared with placebo (median time 53.7 hours versus 80.2 hours; p<0.001). Similar efficacy results were seen between Xofluza and oseltamivir in relation to time to alleviation of symptoms (median time 53.5 hours versus 53.8 hours).
Xofluza was well tolerated in this study and no new safety signals were identified. The study was conducted in the US and Japan by Shionogi & Co., Ltd.
CAPSTONE-2 was a phase III, multicentre, randomised, double-blind study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of single-dose of Xofluza® (baloxavir marboxil) compared with placebo and oseltamivir in individuals aged between 12 and 64 years, who were at high-risk of complications from influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines people at high-risk for serious influenza complications to include adults 65 years of age or older, or those who have conditions such as asthma, chronic lung disease, morbid obesity, or heart disease.
The primary endpoint of the study was time to improvement of influenza symptoms. CAPSTONE-2 was the first prospective, controlled phase III clinical trial to demonstrate a significant and clinically meaningful benefit from an antiviral medicine in people at high-risk of serious influenza complications (median time to improvement in symptoms 73.2 hours for Xofluza, 102.3 hours for placebo, p<0.0001). Similar median time to improvement in symptoms was seen between the Xofluza and oseltamivir groups (73.2 hours vs 81.0 hours, respectively).
Xofluza was well tolerated in this study and no new safety signals were identified. The study was conducted globally by Shionogi & Co., Ltd.
BLOCKSTONE was a phase III, double-blind, multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled, post-exposure prophylaxis study that evaluated single-dose of Xofluza® (baloxavir marboxil) compared with placebo in household members (adults and children) who were living with someone with influenza confirmed by a rapid influenza diagnostic test (the ‘index patient’).
The primary endpoint of the study was the rate of laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza during the ten day period after receiving treatment. Xofluza showed a statistically significant prophylactic effect on influenza after a single oral dose, by reducing the risk of individuals aged 12 years and above from developing influenza after exposure to an infected household member, by 90% versus placebo. The proportion of household members aged 12 years and above who developed laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza was 1.3% in participants treated with Xofluza and 13.2% in the placebo-treated group.
Xofluza was well tolerated in this study and no new safety signals were identified. The study was conducted in Japan by Shionogi & Co., Ltd.
About Xofluza® (baloxavir marboxil)
Xofluza is a first-in-class, single-dose oral medicine with an innovative mechanism of action that has demonstrated efficacy in a wide range of influenza viruses, including in vitro activity against oseltamivir-resistant strains and avian strains (H7N9, H5N1) in non-clinical studies.16,17,18 Xofluza is the first in a class of antivirals designed to inhibit the cap-dependent endonuclease protein, which is essential for viral replication.1,19
Xofluza is available in more than 30 countries for the treatment of influenza types A and B. In the US, Xofluza is approved for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated influenza in patients aged 12 years and above who are otherwise-healthy or at high-risk of developing serious complications from influenza, and who have been symptomatic for no more than 48 hours. Xofluza is also approved for post-exposure prophylaxis of influenza in individuals 12 years of age and older. Xofluza was the first new antiviral to be approved by the FDA in 20 years, and is the first innovation in mechanism of action for an influenza antiviral approved by the EC in almost 20 years.4
Robust clinical evidence has demonstrated the benefit of Xofluza in several populations (otherwise-healthy, high-risk and post-exposure prophylaxis in individuals aged 12 years and above). Xofluza is being further studied in a phase III development programme, including children under the age of one (NCT03653364) as well as to assess the potential to reduce transmission of influenza from an infected person to healthy people (NCT03969212).1,2,3,20
Xofluza was discovered by Shionogi & Co., Ltd. and is being further developed and commercialised globally in collaboration with the Roche Group (which includes Genentech in the US) and Shionogi & Co., Ltd. Under the terms of this agreement, Roche holds worldwide rights to Xofluza excluding Japan and Taiwan, which will be retained exclusively by Shionogi & Co., Ltd.
About Roche in Influenza
Influenza is one of the most common, yet serious, infectious diseases, representing a significant threat to public health. Globally, seasonal epidemics result in three to five million cases of severe disease, millions of hospitalisations and up to 650,000 deaths every year.7,8,9 Roche has a long heritage in developing medicines that contribute to public health. We are committed to bringing innovation in the field of infectious diseases, including influenza. Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) has made a significant difference both to the treatment of seasonal influenza as well as in the management of recent pandemics, and we are proud to have brought this innovative medicine to patients. Although vaccines are an important first line of defence in preventing influenza, there is a need for new medical options for prevention (prophylaxis) and treatment. Roche is committed to addressing the unmet need in this area through its agreement with Shionogi & Co., Ltd. to develop and commercialise Xofluza.
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.
Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.
Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the twelfth consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).
The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2019 employed about 98,000 people worldwide. In 2019, Roche invested CHF 11.7 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 61.5 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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 Hayden F, et al. Baloxavir Marboxil for Uncomplicated Influenza in Adults and Adolescents. N Engl J Med 2018; 379:913-923.
 Ison M, et al. Early treatment with baloxavir marboxil in high-risk adolescent and adult outpatients with uncomplicated influenza (CAPSTONE-2): a randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(10):1204-1214.
 Ikematsu H, et al. Baloxavir Marboxil for Prophylaxis against Influenza in Household Contacts. N Engl J Med. 2020; 383.309-320.
 EMA. Tamiflu. [Internet; cited 2020 November]. Available from: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/human/EPAR/tamiflu
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disease burden of influenza. [Internet; cited 2020 November]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html
 World Health Organization. Public Health Research Agenda for Influenza. [Internet; cited 2020 November]. Available from: https://www.who.int/influenza/resources/research/2010_04_29_global_influenza_research_agenda_version_01_en.pdf
 World Health Organization. Global Influenza Strategy 2019-2030. [Internet; cited 2020 November]. Available from: https://www.who.int/influenza/Global_Influenza_Strategy_2019_2030_Summary_English.pdf?ua=1
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 Choi WS, et al. Severe influenza treatment guideline. Korean J Intern Med. 2014; 29.1.132-147.
 World Health Organization. Influenza – estimating the burden of disease. [Internet; cited 2020 November]. Available from: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/influenza/seasonal-influenza/burden-of-influenza
 Trigueiro-Loruro JM, et al. Virol. 2019;535:297-307.
 Mifsud, EJ, et al. Antiviral Res. 2019;169:104545.
 Hayden FG, & Pavia AT. Antiviral management of seasonal and pandemic influenza. J Infect Dis. 2006;194:S119–126.
 Uyeki TM, et al. Clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America: 2018 update on diagnosis, treatment, chemoprophylaxis, and institutional outbreak management of seasonal influenza. Clin Infect Dis. 2019; doi:10.1093/cid/ciy866.
 Wallick C, et al. Presented at: IDWeek; 2018 October 3-7; San Francisco. Abstract #2347.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs. [Internet; cited 2020 November]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/whatyoushould.htm
 Noshi T, et al. In vitro Characterization of Baloxavir Acid, a First-in-Class Cap-dependent Endonuclease Inhibitor of the Influenza Virus Polymerase PA Subunit. Antiviral Research. 2018; 160:109-117.
 Taniguchi K, et al. Inhibition of avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) virus by the novel cap-dependent endonuclease inhibitor baloxavir marboxil. Scientific Reports. 2019; 9:3466.
 Noshi T, et al. S-033447/S-033188, a Novel Small Molecule Inhibitor of Cap-dependent Endonuclease of Influenza A and B Virus.
 In Vitro Antiviral Activity against Laboratory Strains of Influenza A and B Virus in Madin-Darby Canine Kidney Cells. Poster presentation at OPTIONS IX, August 2016.
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