SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced results from the Phase III POLARIX study showing that treatment with Polivy® (polatuzumab vedotin) in combination with Rituxan® (rituximab) plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone (R-CHP) significantly reduced the risk of disease progression, relapse or death (progression-free survival; PFS) by 27% compared with the current standard-of-care, Rituxan plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP), in people with previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Safety outcomes were consistent with those seen in previous trials, and the safety profile was comparable for Polivy plus R-CHP versus R-CHOP. Results were presented as a late-breaking abstract and during a press briefing at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. Data from POLARIX were simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
“As many as 40% of people with this aggressive lymphoma experience a return of their cancer after initial therapy, at which point they face a poor prognosis and limited treatment options,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “This Polivy-based regimen may conceivably change the disease course for many people with DLBCL, so we are working with health authorities around the world to make this important, potential new treatment option available as soon as possible.”
“DLBCL is an aggressive disease and, despite continuous research efforts, there have been limited treatment advances in the frontline setting in the past 20 years,” said Professor Hervé Tilly, POLARIX principal investigator and professor of hematology at the University of Rouen. “Results from the POLARIX trial represent an important advancement, bringing hope to people with this disease.”
First efficacy and safety data from the pivotal Phase III POLARIX study showed a significant improvement in PFS with Polivy plus R-CHP versus R-CHOP in patients with previously untreated DLBCL after a median follow-up of 28.2 months (hazard ratio [HR] 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.57–0.95; p<0.02). PFS is a clinically meaningful disease-related outcome for patients with previously untreated DLBCL as it represents the goals of first-line therapy: avoiding disease relapse, disease progression and death. The safety profile was comparable for Polivy plus R-CHP versus R-CHOP, including rates of Grade 3-4 adverse events (AEs; 57.7% versus 57.5%), serious AEs (34.0% versus 30.6%), Grade 5 AEs (3.0% versus 2.3%), and AEs leading to dose reduction (9.2% versus 13.0%). The POLARIX data form the basis of ongoing marketing applications to global health authorities.
Currently, Polivy is used as an off-the-shelf, fixed-duration treatment option in the relapsed or refractory (R/R) DLBCL setting and is approved in combination with bendamustine and Rituxan for the treatment of R/R DLBCL in more than 70 countries worldwide, including in the EU and in the United States. Genentech continues to explore areas of unmet need where Polivy has the potential to deliver benefit, with ongoing studies investigating combinations of Polivy with the CD20xCD3 T-cell engaging bispecific antibodies mosunetuzumab and glofitamab, with Venclexta® (venetoclax), which is being developed by AbbVie and Genentech, and with Rituxan in combination with gemcitabine and oxaliplatin in the Phase III POLARGO study.
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About the POLARIX study
POLARIX [NCT03274492] is an international Phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of Polivy® (polatuzumab vedotin) plus Rituxan® (rituximab), cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone (R-CHP) versus Rituxan, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP) in people with previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Eight-hundred and seventy-nine patients were randomized 1:1 to receive either Polivy plus R-CHP plus a vincristine placebo for six cycles, followed by Rituxan for two cycles; or R-CHOP plus a Polivy placebo for six cycles, followed by two cycles of Rituxan. The primary outcome measure is progression-free survival as assessed by the investigator using the Lugano Response Criteria for malignant lymphoma. POLARIX is being conducted in collaboration with The Lymphoma Study Association (LYSA) and The Lymphoma Academic Research Organisation (LYSARC).
About Polivy® (polatuzumab vedotin-piiq)
Polivy is a first-in-class anti-CD79b antibody-drug conjugate (ADC). The CD79b protein is expressed specifically in the majority of B cells, an immune cell impacted in some types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), making it a promising target for the development of new therapies. Polivy binds to CD79b and destroys these B cells through the delivery of an anti-cancer agent, which is thought to minimize the effects on normal cells. Polivy is being developed by Genentech using Seagen ADC technology and is currently being investigated for the treatment of several types of NHL.
Polivy U.S. Indication
Polivy is a prescription medicine used with other medicines, bendamustine and a rituximab product, to treat diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in adults who have progressed after at least two prior therapies.
The accelerated approval of Polivy is based on a type of response rate. There are ongoing studies to confirm the clinical benefit of Polivy.
Important Safety Information
Possible serious side effects
Everyone reacts differently to Polivy therapy, so it’s important to know what the side effects are. Some people who have been treated with Polivy have experienced serious to fatal side effects. A patient’s doctor may stop or adjust a patient’s treatment if any serious side effects occur. Patients must contact their healthcare team if there are any signs of these side effects.
- Nerve problems in arms and legs: This may happen as early as after the first dose and may worsen with every dose. If a patient already has nerve pain, Polivy may make it worse. The patient’s doctor will monitor for signs and symptoms, such as changes in sense of touch, numbness or tingling in hands or feet, nerve pain, burning sensation, any muscle weakness, or changes to walking patterns
- Infusion-related reactions: A patient may experience fever, chills, rash, breathing problems, low blood pressure, or hives within 24 hours of the infusion
- Infections: Patients should contact their healthcare team if they experience a fever of 100.4°F or higher, chills, cough, or pain during urination. Also, a patient’s doctor may give medication before giving Polivy, which may prevent some infections, and monitor blood counts throughout treatment with Polivy. Treatment with Polivy can cause severe low blood cell counts
- Rare and serious brain infections: A patient’s doctor will monitor the patient closely for signs and symptoms of these types of infections. Patients should contact their doctor if they experience confusion, dizziness or loss of balance, trouble talking or walking, or vision changes
- Tumor lysis syndrome: Caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. Signs include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of energy
- Potential harm to liver: Some signs include tiredness, weight loss, pain in the abdomen, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin or the white part of the eyes. Patients may be at higher risk if they already have liver problems or are taking other medication
Side effects seen most often
The most common side effects during treatment were:
- Low blood cell counts (platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells)
- Nerve problems in arms and legs
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Decreased appetite
Polivy may not be for everyone. A patient should talk to their doctor if they are:
- Pregnant or may be pregnant: Data have shown that Polivy may harm an unborn baby
- Planning to become pregnant: Women should avoid getting pregnant while taking Polivy. Women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 3 months after their last Polivy treatment. Men taking Polivy should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 5 months after their last Polivy treatment
- Breastfeeding: Women should not breastfeed while taking Polivy and for at least 2 months after the last dose
These may not be all the side effects. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider for more information about the benefits and risks of Polivy treatment.
Report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. Report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
Please visit http://www.Polivy.com for the full Prescribing Information for additional Important Safety Information.
About Genentech in Hematology
For more than 20 years, Genentech has been developing medicines with the goal to redefine treatment in hematology. Today, we’re investing more than ever in our effort to bring innovative treatment options to people with diseases of the blood. For more information visit http://www.gene.com/hematology.
Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.