CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: MLNM) today announced the initiation of a multi-center, Phase II trial to evaluate VELCADE in combination with emerging agent, bendamustine, and current standard of care, rituximab, in patients with relapsed follicular lymphoma, a subset of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). This trial is part of the Company's comprehensive development program in NHL, which represents a significant growth opportunity for VELCADE.
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"We designed this trial to combine three active agents in NHL with the goal of enhancing the clinical outcomes of this patient population," said Nancy Simonian, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Millennium. "We are hopeful this novel combination will add to the growing body of data that show the potential of VELCADE to be part of the standard of care in follicular lymphoma, similar to what we've seen in multiple myeloma."
The primary endpoint of the open-label trial is complete remission with secondary endpoints including progression free survival and duration of remission. The trial is expected to enroll approximately 75 patients.
In previous studies, VELCADE as a single-agent and as part of combination therapy has shown promising remission rates and time-to-disease progression in patients with NHL. These trials served as the basis for the Company to initiate the large, registration-enabling Phase III trial designed under a special protocol assessment (SPA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of VELCADE and rituximab in patients with relapsed follicular lymphoma. The Company is on track to complete patient accrual in this Phase III trial in the first half of 2008, with final data expected in 2010. VELCADE is already approved by the FDA to treat relapsed mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). MCL is an aggressive, rapidly progressive subtype of NHL with median life expectancy for a patient with MCL, following first relapse, of one to two years.
About Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
NHL is the most common hematological cancer, the fifth leading cause of cancer death and the second fastest-growing form of cancer in the U.S. The prevalence of NHL in the U.S. is approximately 400,000 patients, including approximately 200,000 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 100,000 patients with follicular and marginal zone lymphoma and 10,000 with MCL. There are approximately 54,000 new cases of NHL diagnosed in the U.S. per year, and 19,000 deaths are attributed to the disease annually.
VELCADE is being co-developed by Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. Millennium is responsible for commercialization of VELCADE in the U.S. and Janssen-Cilag is responsible for commercialization in Europe and the rest of the world. Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K. is responsible for commercialization in Japan. For a limited period of time, Millennium and Ortho Biotech Inc. are co- promoting VELCADE in the U.S. VELCADE is approved in 85 countries worldwide. More than 85,000 patients have been treated with VELCADE globally.
In the U.S., VELCADE is indicated for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy. VELCADE is also indicated for the treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma who have received at least one prior therapy. VELCADE is contraindicated in patients with hypersensitivity to bortezomib, boron, or mannitol. VELCADE should be administered under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of antineoplastic therapy. In the European Union and many other countries worldwide, VELCADE is approved for patients with multiple myeloma after first relapse.
Risks associated with VELCADE therapy include new or worsening peripheral neuropathy, hypotension observed throughout therapy, cardiac and pulmonary disorders, gastrointestinal adverse events, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia and tumor lysis syndrome. Women of childbearing potential should avoid becoming pregnant while being treated with VELCADE. Cases of severe sensory and motor peripheral neuropathy have been reported. The long-term outcome of peripheral neuropathy has not been studied in mantle cell lymphoma. Acute development or exacerbation of congestive heart failure, and/or new onset of decreased left ventricular ejection fraction has been reported, including reports in patients with few or no risk factors for decreased left ventricular ejection fraction. There have been rare reports of acute diffuse infiltrative pulmonary disease of unknown etiology such as pneumonitis, interstitial pneumonia, lung infiltration and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in patients receiving VELCADE. Some of these events have been fatal. A higher proportion of these events have been reported in Japan. There have been rare reports of Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS) in patients receiving VELCADE. RPLS is a rare, reversible, neurological disorder which can present with seizure, hypertension, headache, lethargy, confusion, blindness, and other visual and neurological disturbances. VELCADE is associated with thrombocytopenia and neutropenia. There have been reports of gastrointestinal and intracerebral hemorrhage in association with VELCADE. Transfusions may be considered. Complete blood counts (CBC) should be frequently monitored during treatment with VELCADE. Rare cases of acute liver failure have been reported in patients receiving multiple concomitant medications and with serious underlying medical conditions.
Integrated Safety Data: Safety data from Phase II and III studies of single-agent VELCADE 1.3 mg/m2/dose twice weekly for 2 weeks followed by a 10- day rest period in 1163 patients with multiple myeloma (N=1008) and mantle cell lymphoma (N=155) were integrated and tabulated. In these studies, the safety profile of VELCADE was similar in patients with multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. In the integrated analysis, the most commonly reported adverse events were asthenic conditions (including fatigue, malaise, and weakness) (64%), nausea (55%), diarrhea (52%), constipation (41%), peripheral neuropathy NEC (including peripheral sensory neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy aggravated) (39%), thrombocytopenia and appetite decreased (including anorexia) (each 36%), pyrexia (34%), vomiting (33%), and anemia (29%). Twenty percent (20%) of patients experienced at least 1 episode of >/= Grade 4 toxicity, most commonly thrombocytopenia (5%) and neutropenia (3%). A total of 50% of patients experienced serious adverse events (SAEs) during the studies. The most commonly reported SAEs included pneumonia (7%), pyrexia (6%), diarrhea (5%), vomiting (4%), and nausea, dehydration, dyspnea and thrombocytopenia (each 3%). Adverse events thought by the investigator to be drug-related and leading to discontinuation occurred in 22% of patients. The reasons for discontinuation included peripheral neuropathy (8%), asthenic conditions (3%) and thrombocytopenia and diarrhea (each 2%). In total, 2% of the patients died and the cause of death was considered by the investigator to be possibly related to study drug: including reports of cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, respiratory failure, renal failure, pneumonia and sepsis. This integrated analysis does not include the Phase III, VELCADE plus DOXIL study.
For more information about VELCADE clinical trials, patients and physicians can contact the Millennium Medical Product Information Department at 1-866-VELCADE (1-866-835-2233).
Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a leading biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Mass., markets VELCADE, a novel cancer product, and has a robust clinical development pipeline of product candidates. Millennium's research, development and commercialization activities are focused in two therapeutic areas: oncology and inflammation. By applying its knowledge of the human genome, understanding of disease mechanisms and industrialized drug discovery platform, Millennium is developing an exciting pipeline of innovative product candidates. Millennium's website is www.millennium.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements," including statements about the Company's growth and development of products. Various important risks may cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from the results indicated by these forward-looking statements, including: adverse results in its drug discovery and clinical development programs; failure to obtain patent protection for its discoveries; commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by third parties; the Company's dependence upon strategic alliance partners to develop and commercialize products and services based on its work; difficulties or delays in obtaining regulatory approvals to market products and services resulting from its development efforts; product withdrawals; competitive factors; difficulties or delays in manufacturing the Company's products; government and third-party reimbursement rates; the commercial success of VELCADE and INTEGRILIN(R) (eptifibatide) Injection; achieving revenue consistent with internal forecasts; and the requirement for substantial funding to conduct research and development and to expand commercialization activities. For a further list and description of the risks and uncertainties the Company faces, see the reports it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward- looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Editors' Note: This press release is also available under the Media section of the Company's website at: www.millennium.com.
Dion Warren (investors) Jennifer Snyder (media)
SOURCE Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.