Not intended for UK-based media
Darmstadt, Germany and New York, US, March 19, 2019 – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates its biopharmaceutical business as EMD Serono in the US and Canada, and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced the discontinuation of the ongoing Phase III JAVELIN Ovarian PARP 100 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of avelumab in combination with chemotherapy followed by maintenance therapy of avelumab in combination with talazoparib,* a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, versus an active comparator in treatment-naïve patients with locally advanced or metastatic ovarian cancer (Stage III or Stage IV). The alliance has notified health authorities and trial investigators of the decision to discontinue the trial.
The decision was based on several emerging factors since the trial’s initiation, including the previously announced interim results from JAVELIN Ovarian 100. The alliance determined that the degree of benefit observed with avelumab in frontline ovarian cancer in that study does not support continuation of the JAVELIN Ovarian PARP 100 trial in an unselected patient population and emphasizes the need to better understand the role of immunotherapy in ovarian cancer. Additional factors include the rapidly changing treatment landscape and the approval of a PARP inhibitor in the frontline maintenance setting. The decision to discontinue the JAVELIN Ovarian PARP 100 trial was not made for safety reasons.
The alliance between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer was the first to test an immunotherapy in this indication, given the significant unmet need in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Four out of five women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed with disease that has spread to the lymph nodes or to distant organs.1 Most women with advanced ovarian cancer ultimately die within five years due to refractory, resistant or recurrent disease.2,3
JAVELIN Ovarian PARP 100 (B9991030) is an open-label, international, multi-center, randomized study designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of avelumab in combination with chemotherapy followed by maintenance therapy of avelumab in combination with talazoparib versus an active comparator in treatment-naïve patients with locally advanced or metastatic ovarian cancer (Stage III or Stage IV). The primary endpoint is progression-free survival (PFS) as determined based on blinded independent central review (BICR) assessment per RECIST v1.1.
The decision to discontinue the JAVELIN Ovarian PARP 100 trial does not impact the currently approved indications for avelumab or the remainder of the ongoing JAVELIN clinical development program. The program involves at least 30 clinical programs and more than 9,000 patients evaluated across more than 15 different tumor types, including breast, gastric/gastro-esophageal junction, and head and neck cancers, Merkel cell carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and urothelial carcinoma.
*Avelumab and talazoparib are under clinical investigation for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer and have not been demonstrated to be safe and effective for this use.
About Avelumab (BAVENCIO®)
Avelumab (BAVENCIO®) is a human anti-programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) antibody. Avelumab has been shown in preclinical models to engage both the adaptive and innate immune functions. By blocking the interaction of PD-L1 with PD-1 receptors, avelumab has been shown to release the suppression of the T cell-mediated antitumor immune response in preclinical models.4-6 Avelumab has also been shown to induce NK cell-mediated direct tumor cell lysis via antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) in vitro.6-8 In November 2014, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer announced a strategic alliance to co-develop and co-commercialize avelumab.
Approved Indications in the US
In the US, the FDA granted accelerated approval for avelumab (BAVENCIO®) for the treatment of (i) adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC) and (ii) patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy. These indications are approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for these indications may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.
Avelumab is currently approved for patients with MCC in more than 45 countries globally, with the majority of these approvals in a broad indication that is not limited to a specific line of treatment.
Important Safety Information from the BAVENCIO® US FDA-Approved Label
BAVENCIO can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis, and evaluate suspected cases with radiographic imaging. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater pneumonitis. Withhold BAVENCIO for moderate (Grade 2) and permanently discontinue for severe (Grade 3), life-threatening (Grade 4), or recurrent moderate (Grade 2) pneumonitis. Pneumonitis occurred in 1.2% (21/1738) of patients, including one (0.1%) patient with Grade 5, one (0.1%) with Grade 4, and five (0.3%) with Grade 3.
BAVENCIO can cause immune-mediated hepatitis, including fatal cases. Monitor patients for abnormal liver tests prior to and periodically during treatment. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater hepatitis. Withhold BAVENCIO for moderate (Grade 2) immune-mediated hepatitis until resolution and permanently discontinue for severe (Grade 3) or life-threatening (Grade 4) immune-mediated hepatitis. Immune-mediated hepatitis was reported in 0.9% (16/1738) of patients, including two (0.1%) patients with Grade 5, and 11 (0.6%) with Grade 3.
BAVENCIO can cause immune-mediated colitis. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of colitis. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater colitis. Withhold BAVENCIO until resolution for moderate or severe (Grade 2 or 3) colitis, and permanently discontinue for life-threatening (Grade 4) or recurrent (Grade 3) colitis upon reinitiation of BAVENCIO. Immune-mediated colitis occurred in 1.5% (26/1738) of patients, including seven (0.4%) with Grade 3.
BAVENCIO can cause immune-mediated endocrinopathies, including adrenal insufficiency, thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency during and after treatment, and administer corticosteroids as appropriate. Withhold BAVENCIO for severe (Grade 3) or life-threatening (Grade 4) adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal insufficiency was reported in 0.5% (8/1738) of patients, including one (0.1%) with Grade 3.
Thyroid disorders can occur at any time during treatment. Monitor patients for changes in thyroid function at the start of treatment, periodically during treatment, and as indicated based on clinical evaluation. Manage hypothyroidism with hormone replacement therapy and hyperthyroidism with medical management. Withhold BAVENCIO for severe (Grade 3) or life-threatening (Grade 4) thyroid disorders. Thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroiditis, were reported in 6% (98/1738) of patients, including three (0.2%) with Grade 3.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus including diabetic ketoacidosis: Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Withhold BAVENCIO and administer antihyperglycemics or insulin in patients with severe or life-threatening (Grade ≥ 3) hyperglycemia, and resume treatment when metabolic control is achieved. Type 1 diabetes mellitus without an alternative etiology occurred in 0.1% (2/1738) of patients, including two cases of Grade 3 hyperglycemia.
BAVENCIO can cause immune-mediated nephritis and renal dysfunction. Monitor patients for elevated serum creatinine prior to and periodically during treatment. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold BAVENCIO for moderate (Grade 2) or severe (Grade 3) nephritis until resolution to Grade 1 or lower. Permanently discontinue BAVENCIO for life-threatening (Grade 4) nephritis. Immune-mediated nephritis occurred in 0.1% (1/1738) of patients.
BAVENCIO can result in other severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions involving any organ system during treatment or after treatment discontinuation. For suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, evaluate to confirm or rule out an immune-mediated adverse reaction and to exclude other causes. Depending on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold or permanently discontinue BAVENCIO, administer high-dose corticosteroids, and initiate hormone replacement therapy, if appropriate. Resume BAVENCIO when the immune-mediated adverse reaction remains at Grade 1 or lower following a corticosteroid taper. Permanently discontinue BAVENCIO for any severe (Grade 3) immune-mediated adverse reaction that recurs and for any life-threatening (Grade 4) immune-mediated adverse reaction. The following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred in less than 1% of 1738 patients treated with BAVENCIO: myocarditis with fatal cases, myositis, psoriasis, arthritis, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, pemphigoid, hypopituitarism, uveitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and systemic inflammatory response.
BAVENCIO can cause severe (Grade 3) or life-threatening (Grade 4) infusion-related reactions. Patients should be premedicated with an antihistamine and acetaminophen prior to the first 4 infusions and for subsequent doses based upon clinical judgment and presence/severity of prior infusion reactions. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions, including pyrexia, chills, flushing, hypotension, dyspnea, wheezing, back pain, abdominal pain, and urticaria. Interrupt or slow the rate of infusion for mild (Grade 1) or moderate (Grade 2) infusion-related reactions. Permanently discontinue BAVENCIO for severe (Grade 3) or life-threatening (Grade 4) infusion-related reactions. Infusion-related reactions occurred in 25% (439/1738) of patients, including three (0.2%) patients with Grade 4 and nine (0.5%) with Grade 3.
BAVENCIO can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise patients of the potential risk to a fetus including the risk of fetal death. Advise females of childbearing potential to use effective contraception during treatment with BAVENCIO and for at least 1 month after the last dose of BAVENCIO. It is not known whether BAVENCIO is excreted in human milk. Advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during treatment and for at least 1
month after the last dose of BAVENCIO due to the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants.
The most common adverse reactions (all grades, ≥ 20%) in patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) were fatigue (50%), musculoskeletal pain (32%), diarrhea (23%), nausea (22%), infusion-related reaction (22%), rash (22%), decreased appetite (20%), and peripheral edema (20%).
Selected treatment-emergent laboratory abnormalities (all grades, ≥ 20%) in patients with metastatic MCC were lymphopenia (49%), anemia (35%), increased aspartate aminotransferase (34%), thrombocytopenia (27%), and increased alanine aminotransferase (20%).
The most common adverse reactions (all grades, ≥ 20%) in patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) were fatigue (41%), infusion-related reaction (30%), musculoskeletal pain (25%), nausea (24%), decreased appetite/hypophagia (21%), and urinary tract infection (21%).
Selected laboratory abnormalities (Grades 3-4, ≥ 3%) in patients with locally advanced or metastatic UC were hyponatremia (16%), increased gamma-glutamyltransferase (12%), lymphopenia (11%), hyperglycemia (9%), increased alkaline phosphatase (7%), anemia (6%), increased lipase (6%), hyperkalemia (3%), and increased aspartate aminotransferase (3%).
Please see full US Prescribing Information and Medication Guide available at http://www.BAVENCIO.com.
Indication for talazoparib (TALZENNA®) from the US Prescribing Information
TALZENNA is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor indicated for the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline breast cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA)-mutated (gBRCAm) human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for TALZENNA.
Important Safety Information from the TALZENNA US Prescribing Information
Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Acute Myeloid Leukemia (MDS/AML) have been reported in patients who received TALZENNA. Overall, MDS/AML have been reported in 2 out of 584 (0.3%) solid tumor patients treated with TALZENNA in clinical studies.
Myelosuppression consisting of anemia, leukopenia/neutropenia, and/or thrombocytopenia have been reported in patients treated with TALZENNA. Grade ≥3 anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia were reported, respectively, in 39%, 21%, and 15% of patients receiving TALZENNA. Discontinuation due to anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia occurred, respectively, in 0.7%, 0.3%, and 0.3% of patients.
Monitor complete blood counts for cytopenia at baseline and monthly thereafter. Do not start TALZENNA until patients have adequately recovered from hematological toxicity caused by previous therapy. If hematological toxicity occurs, dose modifications (dosing interruption with or without dose reduction) are recommended. With respect to MDS/AML, for prolonged hematological toxicities, interrupt TALZENNA and monitor blood counts weekly until recovery. If the levels have not recovered after 4 weeks, refer the patient to a hematologist for further investigations. If MDS/AML is confirmed, discontinue TALZENNA.
TALZENNA can cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. Advise women of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 7 months following the last dose. A pregnancy test is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to initiating TALZENNA treatment. Advise male patients with female partners of reproductive potential or who are pregnant to use effective contraception during treatment with TALZENNA and for at least 4 months after receiving the last dose. Based on animal studies, TALZENNA may impair fertility in males of reproductive potential. Advise women not to breastfeed while taking TALZENNA and for at least 1 month after receiving the last dose because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants.
The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) of any grade for TALZENNA vs chemotherapy were fatigue (62% vs 50%), anemia (53% vs 18%), nausea (49% vs 47%), neutropenia (35% vs 43%), headache (33% vs 22%), thrombocytopenia (27% vs 7%), vomiting (25% vs 23%), alopecia (25% vs 28%), diarrhea (22% vs 26%), and decreased appetite (21% vs 22%).
The most frequently reported Grade ≥3 adverse reactions (≥5%) for TALZENNA vs chemotherapy were anemia (39% vs 5%), neutropenia (21% vs 36%), and thrombocytopenia (15% vs 2%).
The most common lab abnormalities (≥25%) for TALZENNA vs chemotherapy were decreases in hemoglobin (90% vs 77%), leukocytes (84% vs 73%), lymphocytes (76% vs 53%), neutrophils (68% vs 70%), platelets (55% vs 29%), and calcium (28% vs 16%) and increases in glucose (54% vs 51%), aspartate aminotransferase (37% vs 48%), alkaline phosphatase (36% vs 34%), and alanine aminotransferase (33% vs 37%).
Coadministration with P-gp inhibitors or BCRP inhibitors may increase TALZENNA exposure. If coadministering with the P-gp inhibitors amiodarone, carvedilol, clarithromycin, itraconazole, or verapamil is unavoidable, reduce the TALZENNA dose to 0.75 mg once daily. When the P-gp inhibitor is discontinued, increase the TALZENNA dose (after 3–5 half-lives of the P-gp inhibitor) to the dose used prior to the initiation of the P-gp inhibitor. When co-administering TALZENNA with other known P-gp inhibitors or BCRP inhibitors, monitor patients for potential increased adverse reactions.
For patients with moderate renal impairment, the recommended dose of TALZENNA is 0.75 mg once daily. No dose adjustment is required for patients with mild renal impairment. TALZENNA has not been studied in patients with severe renal impairment or in patients requiring hemodialysis.
TALZENNA has not been studied in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment. No dose adjustment is required for patients with mild hepatic impairment.
Please see full US Prescribing Information available at http://www.TALZENNA.com.