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U.S. Food and Drug Administration Accepts for Priority Review Bristol Myers Squibb’s Application for Orencia (abatacept) for the Prevention of Acute Graft Versus Host Disease (aGvHD)

PRINCETON, N.J.–()–Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted its supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Orencia (abatacept) for the prevention of moderate to severe acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD) in patients 6 years of age and older receiving unrelated donor hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The FDA granted the application Priority Review and assigned a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) goal date of December 23, 2021.

“While stem cell transplants are an effective treatment for aggressive leukemias and other hematological malignancies, patients who receive stem cell transplants from unrelated and human leukocyte antigens (HLA)-mismatched donors are at high risk for developing aGvHD,” said study lead investigator Leslie Kean, M.D., PhD, Director of the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Boston Children’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “There is a tremendous need to expand the stem cell donor pool by lowering the risk of aGvHD in both adults and children receiving unrelated donor stem cell transplants.”

Stem cell transplants include infusion of donor T-cells, a type of white blood cell that recognizes and destroys foreign invaders in the recipient’s body, including cancer cells. GvHD occurs when the donor T-cells also recognize the patient’s healthy cells as foreign and start attacking healthy tissues and organs. To initiate this attack, T-cells require activation through a signaling process called co-stimulation. Between 30 and 70 percent of transplant recipients develop aGvHD, depending on donor type, transplant technique, and other features. Orencia, a therapy currently approved to treat various arthritic conditions, binds to and inhibits protein targets involved in co-stimulation, thus inhibiting T-cell activation.

“For patients who receive unrelated donor stem cell transplants, in particular for racial and ethnic minority patient populations, there is a heightened risk of developing aGvHD, a potentially life-threatening medical complication for which there are no approved preventive therapies,” said Mary Beth Harler, M.D., head of Immunology and Fibrosis Development, Bristol Myers Squibb. “We look forward to working with the FDA to bring Orencia to this new patient population and employ pathbreaking science in an effort to address unmet needs of underserved patients.”

The sBLA submitted to the FDA is based on results from the Phase 2 ABA2 trial and a registry trial based on real world evidence. The ABA2 trial assessed the impact of Orencia on the prevention of severe aGvHD, when added to a standard GvHD prophylactic regimen administered to patients with hematologic malignancies receiving a stem cell transplant from an unrelated, HLA-matched or mismatched donor. A mismatch in HLA increases the risk of GvHD. Results from ABA2 showed that treatment with Orencia resulted in a significant reduction in severe aGvHD and associated morbidity without an increase in disease relapse. The findings of the real-world analysis were consistent with those of ABA2.

Bristol Myers Squibb thanks the patients and investigators who participated in this clinical trial.

About ABA2
The ABA2 study was a multicenter, Phase 2 investigator sponsored trial conducted by Dr. Leslie Kean of Boston Children’s Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute. ABA2 had two cohorts: a single arm cohort for patients receiving transplants from mismatched unrelated donors (MMUD) (“7/8” cohort), and a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled cohort for patients receiving transplants from 8/8 matched unrelated donors (MUD) (“8/8” cohort). All subjects received a calcineurin inhibitor (CNI), with dosing starting on day -2 and continuing through at least Day 100 as tolerated, and methotrexate (MTX) on days one, three, six and 11 (transplant day is Day 0). Orencia-treated subjects received 10 mg/kg Orencia on days -1, 5, 14 and 28.

In the ABA2 clinical trial, addition of Orencia to SOC aGvHD prophylaxis of MTX+CNI resulted in a significantly higher aGvHD-free survival (GFS) rate compared to registry controls in the single-arm 7/8 HLA-matched cohort, and numerically higher severe GFS rate in the double-blind, placebo-controlled 8/8 HLA-matched cohort at 180 days post-transplant.

About Acute Graft Versus Host Disease and Impact on a Diverse Patient Population

Graft versus host disease (GvHD) after a hematopoietic stem cell transplant occurs when transplanted donor T-cells recognize antigenic differences between the donor and the recipient, and attack the recipient’s healthy tissue and organs. Acute graft versus-host disease (aGvHD) impacts between 30 and 70 percent of patients, depending on donor type, transplant technique, and other features, with racial and ethnic minority patient populations more likely to experience challenges following a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. This may be due to several factors that impact overall outcome, including a lack of donor availability and related care. This activation of T-cells can result in severe immune-mediated tissue damage to the host, with the skin, liver and gastrointestinal tract being the most common targets. aGvHD-mediated damage to these vital organs has been associated with increased morbidity and death.

HSCT is an effective treatment for aggressive leukemias and other hematological malignancies, often representing the only option for cure. However, some of its benefit, especially in the case of unrelated donor transplantation, is offset by a high rate of transplant-related mortality (TRM) stemming largely from severe aGvHD and infection.

About ORENCIA®

ORENCIA® is an immunomodulator that disrupts the continuous cycle of T-cell activation.

U.S. Indications/Usage and Important Safety Information for ORENCIA® (abatacept)

Indications and Usage

Adult Rheumatoid Arthritis: ORENCIA® (abatacept) is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: ORENCIA® (abatacept) is indicated for the treatment of patients 2 years of age and older with moderately to severely active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA).

Adult Psoriatic Arthritis: ORENCIA® (abatacept) is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Limitations of Use: The concomitant use of ORENCIA with other potent immunosuppressants [e.g., biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDS), Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors] is not recommended.

Important Safety Information for ORENCIA® (abatacept)

Concomitant Use with TNF Antagonists, Other Biologic RA/PsA Therapy, or JAK Inhibitors: Concurrent therapy with ORENCIA and a TNF antagonist is not recommended. In controlled clinical trials, adult RA patients receiving concomitant intravenous ORENCIA and TNF antagonist therapy experienced more infections (63% vs 43%) and serious infections (4.4% vs 0.8%) compared to patients treated with only TNF antagonists, without an important enhancement of efficacy. Additionally, concomitant use of ORENCIA with other biologic RA/PsA therapy or JAK inhibitors is not recommended.

Hypersensitivity: There were 2 cases (<0.1%; n=2688) of anaphylaxis reactions in clinical trials with adult RA patients treated with intravenous ORENCIA. Other reactions potentially associated with drug hypersensitivity, such as hypotension, urticaria, and dyspnea, each occurred in <0.9% of patients. There was one case of a hypersensitivity reaction with ORENCIA in pJIA clinical trials (0.5%; n=190). In post marketing experience, fatal anaphylaxis following the first infusion of ORENCIA and life-threatening cases of angioedema have been reported. Angioedema has occurred as early as after the first dose of ORENCIA, but also has occurred with subsequent doses. Angioedema reactions have occurred within hours of administration and in some instances had a delayed onset (i.e., days). Appropriate medical support measures for treating hypersensitivity reactions should be available for immediate use. If an anaphylactic or other serious allergic reaction occurs, administration of intravenous or subcutaneous ORENCIA should be stopped immediately and permanently discontinued, with appropriate therapy instituted.

Infections: Serious infections, including sepsis and pneumonia, were reported in 3% and 1.9% of RA patients treated with intravenous ORENCIA and placebo, respectively. Some of these infections have been fatal. Many of the serious infections have occurred in patients on concomitant immunosuppressive therapy which, in addition to their underlying disease, could further predispose them to infection. Caution should be exercised in patients with a history of infection or underlying conditions which may predispose them to infections. Treatment with ORENCIA should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection. Patients should be screened for tuberculosis and viral hepatitis in accordance with published guidelines, and if positive, treated according to standard medical practice prior to therapy with ORENCIA.

Immunizations: Prior to initiating ORENCIA in pediatric and adult patients, update vaccinations in accordance with current vaccination guidelines. Live vaccines should not be given concurrently with ORENCIA or within 3 months after discontinuation. ORENCIA may blunt the effectiveness of some immunizations.

Use in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): In Study V, adult COPD patients treated with ORENCIA for RA developed adverse events more frequently than those treated with placebo (97% vs 88%, respectively). Respiratory disorders occurred more frequently in patients treated with ORENCIA compared to those on placebo (43% vs 24%, respectively), including COPD exacerbation, cough, rhonchi, and dyspnea. A greater percentage of patients treated with ORENCIA developed a serious adverse event compared to those on placebo (27% vs 6%), including COPD exacerbation [3 of 37 patients (8%)] and pneumonia [1 of 37 patients (3%)]. Use of ORENCIA in patients with COPD should be undertaken with caution, and such patients monitored for worsening of their respiratory status.

Immunosuppression: In clinical trials in adult RA patients, a higher rate of infections was seen in ORENCIA-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients. The impact of treatment with ORENCIA on the development and course of malignancies is not fully understood. There have been reports of malignancies, including skin cancer in patients receiving ORENCIA. Periodic skin examinations are recommended for all ORENCIA-treated patients, particularly those with risk factors for skin cancer.

Blood Glucose Testing: ORENCIA for intravenous administration contains maltose, which may result in falsely elevated blood glucose readings on the day of infusion when using blood glucose monitors with test strips utilizing glucose dehydrogenase pyrroloquinoline quinone (GDH-PQQ). Consider using monitors and advising patients to use monitors that do not react with maltose, such as those based on glucose dehydrogenase nicotine adenine dinucleotide (GDH-NAD), glucose oxidase or glucose hexokinase test methods. ORENCIA for subcutaneous (SC) administration does not contain maltose; therefore, patients do not need to alter their glucose monitoring.

Pregnancy: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of ORENCIA use in pregnant women and the data with ORENCIA use in pregnant women are insufficient to inform on drug-associated risk. A pregnancy registry has been established to monitor pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to ORENCIA during pregnancy. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to register patients by calling 1-877-311-8972.

Lactation: There is no information regarding the presence of abatacept in human milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. However, abatacept was present in the milk of lactating rats dosed with abatacept.

Most Serious Adverse Reactions: Serious infections (3% ORENCIA vs 1.9% placebo) and malignancies (1.3% ORENCIA vs 1.1% placebo).

Malignancies: The overall frequency of malignancies was similar between adult RA patients treated with ORENCIA or placebo. However, more cases of lung cancer were observed in patients treated with ORENCIA (0.2%) than those on placebo (0%). A higher rate of lymphoma was seen compared to the general population; however, patients with RA, particularly those with highly active disease, are at a higher risk for the development of lymphoma. The potential role of ORENCIA in the development of malignancies in humans is unknown.

Most Frequent Adverse Events (≥10%): Headache, upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, and nausea were the most commonly reported adverse events in the adult RA clinical studies. Other events reported in ≥5% of pJIA patients were diarrhea, cough, pyrexia, and abdominal pain. In general, the adverse events in pediatric pJIA and adult PsA patients were similar in frequency and type to those seen in adult RA patients.

Note concerning ORENCIA administration options: ORENCIA may be administered as an intravenous infusion only for patients 6 years of age and older. PJIA patients may self-inject with ORENCIA or the patient’s caregiver may administer ORENCIA if both the healthcare practitioner and the parent/legal guardian determines it is appropriate. The ability of pediatric patients to self-inject with the autoinjector has not been tested.

Please click here for Full Prescribing Information.

About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are wholly owned subsidiaries of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. In certain countries outside the U.S., due to local laws, Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are referred to as, Celgene, a Bristol Myers Squibb company and Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol Myers Squibb company.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding, among other things, the research, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products. All statements that are not statements of historical facts are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on historical performance and current expectations and projections about our future financial results, goals, plans and objectives and involve inherent risks, assumptions and uncertainties, including internal or external factors that could delay, divert or change any of them in the next several years, that are difficult to predict, may be beyond our control and could cause our future financial results, goals, plans and objectives to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the statements. These risks, assumptions, uncertainties and other factors include, among others, that Orencia (abatacept) may not receive regulatory approval for the additional indication described in this release in the currently anticipated timeline or at all and, if approved, whether such product candidate for such additional indication described in this release will be commercially successful. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. It should also be noted that a Priority Review designation does not change the standards for FDA approval. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many risks and uncertainties that affect Bristol Myers Squibb’s business and market, particularly those identified in the cautionary statement and risk factors discussion in Bristol Myers Squibb’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, as updated by our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and except as otherwise required by applicable law, Bristol Myers Squibb undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.

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