Ipsen Announces That Phase 3 CELESTIAL Trial of Cabozantinib Meets Primary Endpoint of Overall Survival in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Ipsen (Euronext: IPN; ADR: IPSEY) and its partner Exelixis (NASDAQ: EXEL) today announced that its global phase 3 CELESTIAL trial met its primary endpoint of overall survival (OS), with cabozantinib providing a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in median OS compared to placebo in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The independent data monitoring committee for the study recommended that the trial should be stopped for efficacy following review of the second planned interim analysis. CELESTIAL is a randomized, global phase 3 trial of cabozantinib versus placebo in patients with advanced HCC who have been previously treated with sorafenib. The safety data in the study were consistent with the established profile of cabozantinib.
In line with and in collaboration with our partner Exelixis, Ipsen expects to file in the first half of 2018 a variation of the initial application to the EMA and other relevant regulatory agencies and to evaluate potential next steps in the development strategy for cabozantinib outside the United States and Japan as a treatment for advanced HCC in patients who have been previously treated. Detailed results from CELESTIAL will be submitted for presentation at a future medical conference.
Alexandre Lebeaut, MD, Executive Vice-President, R&D, Chief Scientific Officer, Ipsen, said: “Liver cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths worldwide and more effective treatment options are urgently needed. We are pleased to report that in the CELESTIAL clinical study cabozantinib has been shown to provide a survival benefit and therefore has the potential to bring a new oral systemic treatment to previously treated patients with advanced liver cancer. ”
About the CELESTIAL Study
CELESTIAL is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of cabozantinib in patients with advanced HCC conducted at more than 100 sites globally in 19 countries. The trial was designed to enroll 760 patients with advanced HCC who previously received sorafenib and may have received up to two prior systemic cancer therapies for HCC and had adequate liver function. Enrollment of the trial was completed in September 2017, and 773 patients were ultimately randomized. Patients were randomized 2:1 to receive 60 mg of cabozantinib once daily or placebo and were stratified based on etiology of the disease (hepatitis C, hepatitis B or other), geographic region (Asia versus other regions) and presence of extrahepatic spread and/or macrovascular invasion (yes or no). No cross-over was allowed between the study arms.
The primary endpoint for the trial is OS, and secondary endpoints include objective response rate and progression-free survival. Exploratory endpoints include patient-reported outcomes, biomarkers and safety.
Based on available clinical trial data from various published trials conducted in the second-line setting of advanced HCC, the CELESTIAL trial statistics for the primary endpoint of OS assumed a median OS of 8.2 months for the placebo arm. A total of 621 events provide the study with 90 percent power to detect a 32 percent increase in median OS (HR = 0.76) at the final analysis. Two interim analyses were planned and conducted at 50 percent and 75 percent of the planned 621 events.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of liver cancer in adults.1 The disease originates in cells called hepatocytes found in the liver. With approximately 800’000 new cases diagnosed each year, HCC is the sixth most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.2,3 According to the GLOBOCAN data, it is estimated that across the European Union (EU-28) nearly 60’000 new patients will be diagnosed with liver cancer in 2020.4 Without treatment, patients with the disease in advanced stage usually survive between 4 and 8 months.5
Cabometyx® is an oral small molecule inhibitor of receptors, including VEGFR, MET, AXL and RET. In preclinical models, cabozantinib has been shown to inhibit the activity of these receptors, which are involved in normal cellular function and pathologic processes such as tumor angiogenesis, invasiveness, metastasis and drug resistance.
In February of 2016, Exelixis and Ipsen jointly announced an exclusive licensing agreement for the commercialization and further development of cabozantinib indications outside of the United States, Canada and Japan. This agreement was amended in December of 2016 to include commercialization rights for Ipsen in Canada. On April 25, 2016, the FDA approved Cabometyx® tablets for the treatment of patients with advanced RCC who have received prior anti-angiogenic therapy and on September 9, 2016, the European Commission approved Cabometyx® tablets for the treatment of advanced RCC in adults who have received prior vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted therapy in the European Union, Norway and Iceland. Cabometyx® is available in 20 mg, 40 mg or 60 mg doses. The recommended dose is 60 mg orally, once daily.
Ipsen also submitted to European Medicines Agency (EMA) the regulatory dossier for cabozantinib as a treatment for first-line advanced RCC in the European Union on August 28, 2017; on September 8, 2017, Ipsen announced that the EMA validated the application.
Cabozantinib is not approved for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.
Ipsen is a global specialty-driven biopharmaceutical group focused on innovation and specialty care. The group develops and commercializes innovative medicines in three key therapeutic areas - Oncology, Neurosciences and Rare Diseases. Its commitment to oncology is exemplified through its growing portfolio of key therapies for prostate cancer, neuroendocrine tumors, renal cell carcinoma and pancreatic cancer. Ipsen also has a well-established Consumer Healthcare business. With total sales close to €1.6 billion in 2016, Ipsen sells more than 20 drugs in over 115 countries, with a direct commercial presence in more than 30 countries. Ipsen's R&D is focused on its innovative and differentiated technological platforms, and centers located in the heart of leading biotechnological and life sciences hubs (Paris-Saclay, France; Oxford, UK; Cambridge, US). The Group has about 5,100 employees worldwide. Ipsen is listed in Paris (Euronext: IPN) and in the United States through a Sponsored Level I American Depositary Receipt program (ADR: IPSEY). For more information on Ipsen, visit www.ipsen.com.
Forward Looking Statement
The forward-looking statements, objectives and targets contained herein are based on the Group’s management strategy, current views and assumptions. Such statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those anticipated herein. All of the above risks could affect the Group’s future ability to achieve its financial targets, which were set assuming reasonable macroeconomic conditions based on the information available today. Use of the words "believes," "anticipates" and "expects" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, including the Group’s expectations regarding future events, including regulatory filings and determinations. Moreover, the targets described in this document were prepared without taking into account external growth assumptions and potential future acquisitions, which may alter these parameters. These objectives are based on data and assumptions regarded as reasonable by the Group. These targets depend on conditions or facts likely to happen in the future, and not exclusively on historical data. Actual results may depart significantly from these targets given the occurrence of certain risks and uncertainties, notably the fact that a promising product in early development phase or clinical trial may end up never being launched on the market or reaching its commercial targets, notably for regulatory or competition reasons. The Group must face or might face competition from generic products that might translate into a loss of market share. Furthermore, the Research and Development process involves several stages each of which involves the substantial risk that the Group may fail to achieve its objectives and be forced to abandon its efforts with regards to a product in which it has invested significant sums. Therefore, the Group cannot be certain that favorable results obtained during pre-clinical trials will be confirmed subsequently during clinical trials, or that the results of clinical trials will be sufficient to demonstrate the safe and effective nature of the product concerned. There can be no guarantees a product will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that the product will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Other risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the Group's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the Group’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions. The Group also depends on third parties to develop and market some of its products which could potentially generate substantial royalties; these partners could behave in such ways which could cause damage to the Group’s activities and financial results. The Group cannot be certain that its partners will fulfil their obligations. It might be unable to obtain any benefit from those agreements. A default by any of the Group’s partners could generate lower revenues than expected. Such situations could have a negative impact on the Group’s business, financial position or performance. The Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward looking statements, targets or estimates contained in this press release to reflect any change in events, conditions, assumptions or circumstances on which any such statements are based, unless so required by applicable law. The Group’s business is subject to the risk factors outlined in its registration documents filed with the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers.
The risks and uncertainties set out are not exhaustive and the reader is advised to refer to the Group’s 2016 Registration Document available on its website (www.ipsen.com).
1. McGlynn KA, London WT. The Global Epidemiology of Hepatocellular
Carcinoma, Present and Future. Clinics in liver disease.
2. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Dikshit R, et al: Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: sources, methods and major patterns in GLOBOCAN 2012. Int J Cancer 136:E359-86, 2015
3. GLOBOCAN International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Available at: http://gco.iarc.fr/today/fact-sheets-cancers?cancer=7&type=0&sex=0
4. GLOBOCAN International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Available at: http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/burden_sel.aspx
5. Annals of Oncology 23 (Supplement 7): vii41–vii48, 2012
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