U.S. FDA Approves Yescarta for Relapsed or Refractory Follicular Lymphoma After Two or More Lines of Systemic Therapy
Kite, a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted accelerated approval to Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma (FL) after two or more lines of systemic therapy. The approval makes Yescarta the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved for patients with indolent follicular lymphoma, follows FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation and a priority review, and marks the third approved indication for a Kite cell therapy.
The approval is based on results from ZUMA-5, a single-arm, open-label study in which 91 percent of patients with relapsed or refractory FL (n=81) responded to Yescarta, including an estimated 74 percent of patients in a continued remission at 18 months (Kaplan-Meier estimate). Among all FL patients, median duration of response was not reached at a median follow-up of 14.5 months. In the safety analysis set (n=146), Grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurologic toxicities occurred in 8 percent and 21 percent of patients, respectively.
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“Once a follicular lymphoma patient’s disease relapses, the duration of response to care shortens with each round of therapy,” said Caron A. Jacobson, MD, MMSc, Medical Director, Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. “Additionally, for follicular patients in the third line of therapy, the five-year survival rate is only 20 percent, highlighting the urgent need for treatments that offer a real chance for durable remission. Impressively, 91 percent of follicular lymphoma patients in the ZUMA-5 study responded to a single infusion of axicabtagene ciloleucel, including an estimated 74 percent of patients in a continued remission at 18 months, giving these patients much-needed hope and oncologists an important addition to the treatment armamentarium.”
“As we look to bring the hope of survival to more patients in need, today’s FDA decision represents a real step forward in our commitment in hematologic malignancies,” said Christi Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Kite. “Advancing CAR T therapies for patients across lymphomas remains a cornerstone of our cell therapy development program, and we are excited about the potential of Yescarta for patients with indolent follicular lymphoma.”
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