Libtayo® (cemiplimab) approved by the European Commission as the first immunotherapy indicated for patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma
Approval based on data from the largest trial to date in patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma previously treated with a hedgehog pathway inhibitor
Libtayo now approved by the European Commission for three advanced cancers
PARIS and TARRYTOWN, NY – June 25, 2021 – The European Commission (EC) has approved Sanofi and Regeneron’s PD-1 inhibitor Libtayo® (cemiplimab) to treat adults with locally advanced or metastatic basal cell carcinoma (BCC) who have progressed on or are intolerant to a hedgehog pathway inhibitor (HHI).
BCC is the most common type of skin cancer worldwide, representing up to 80% of non-melanoma skin cancers, and incidence is increasing across many European countries. While the large majority of BCCs are caught early and easily cured with surgery and/or radiation, a small proportion of cases can develop into advanced BCC and penetrate deeper into surrounding tissues (locally advanced) or spread to other parts of the body (metastatic), becoming more difficult to treat.
“Since its launch in Europe just two years ago, Libtayo has redefined the standard of care for advanced CSCC and has the potential to do the same in advanced BCC,” said Peter C. Adamson, M.D., Global Development Head, Oncology at Sanofi. “Together with Regeneron, we’re committed to addressing gaps in the treatment of advanced forms of non-melanoma skin cancer.”
Libtayo is now approved for three advanced cancers in the European Union, following the EC’s concurrent approval of Libtayo for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumor cells have ≥50% PD-L1 expression and no EGFR, ALK or ROS1 aberrations. In 2019, Libtayo was approved by the EC as the first treatment for adults with metastatic or locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) who are not candidates for curative surgery or curative radiation. Across all of its approved indications, Libtayo had a generally consistent safety profile. Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue during or after treatment with Libtayo.
The EC approval in BCC is based on data from the largest prospective clinical trial (n=119) in patients with advanced BCC previously treated with an HHI to date. Libtayo-treated patients with locally advanced BCC experienced an objective response rate (ORR) of 32% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 22-43) (25% partial response, 7% complete response) by independent central review. Libtayo-treated patients with metastatic BCC demonstrated an ORR of 29% (95% CI: 15-46) (26% partial response, 3% complete response) by investigator assessment. In addition, approximately 90% of patients across both groups had a duration of response (DOR) of 6 months or longer per Kaplan Meier estimates, and the median DOR has not been reached for either group. Median duration of follow-up was 16 months for locally advanced BCC and 9 months for metastatic BCC.
Safety was assessed in 816 patients across all four Libtayo monotherapy pivotal trials in its approved indications. Adverse events were serious in 30% of patients and led to permanent discontinuation in 8% of patients. Immune-related adverse reactions occurred in 22% of patients and led to permanent discontinuation in 4% of patients. The most common immune-related adverse reactions were hypothyroidism (8%), hyperthyroidism (3%), pneumonitis (3%), hepatitis (2%), colitis (2%) and immune-related skin adverse reactions (2%).
“Libtayo is the first immunotherapy to show a clinical benefit in patients with advanced BCC after HHI therapy in a pivotal trial, and with this first-in-class approval has the potential to transform treatment for patients in Europe whose cancer has progressed despite HHI treatment,” said Israel Lowy, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Translational and Clinical Sciences, Oncology at Regeneron. “We look forward to continuing to investigate this medicine in additional settings, with the goal of helping more patients with difficult-to-treat cancers around the world.”
About the Phase 2 Trial in Advanced BCC
The EC approval was based on data from an ongoing open-label, multi-center, non-randomized Phase 2 trial of patients with unresectable locally advanced BCC or metastatic BCC (nodal or distant). Patients in both cohorts had either progressed on HHI therapy, had not had an objective response after 9 months on HHI therapy, or were intolerant of prior HHI therapy. The primary efficacy endpoint was confirmed ORR, and a key secondary endpoint was DOR, assessed by independent central review.
Libtayo is a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting the immune checkpoint receptor PD-1 on T-cells. By binding to PD-1, Libtayo has been shown to block cancer cells from using the PD-1 pathway to suppress T-cell activation.
The recommended dose of Libtayo is 350 mg administered as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every three weeks, until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Libtayo is available as a single-dose 350 mg vial. No PD-L1 or tumor mutational burden (TMB) testing is required before starting treatment with Libtayo for advanced BCC.
The extensive clinical program for Libtayo is focused on difficult-to-treat cancers. Current clinical development programs include Libtayo in combination with chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC irrespective of PD-L1 expression and Libtayo monotherapy for advanced cervical cancer. Libtayo is also being investigated in combination with either conventional or novel therapeutic approaches for other solid tumors and blood cancers. These potential uses are investigational, and their safety and efficacy have not been evaluated by any regulatory authority.
The generic name for Libtayo in its approved U.S. indications is cemiplimab-rwlc, with rwlc as the suffix designated in accordance with Nonproprietary Naming of Biological Products Guidance for Industry issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Libtayo is being jointly developed by Regeneron and Sanofi under a global collaboration agreement.
Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for over 30 years by physician-scientists, our unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine has led to nine FDA-approved treatments and numerous product candidates in development, almost all of which were homegrown in our laboratories. Our medicines and pipeline are designed to help patients with eye diseases, allergic and inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, pain, hematologic conditions, infectious diseases and rare diseases.
Regeneron is accelerating and improving the traditional drug development process through our proprietary VelociSuite® technologies, such as VelocImmune®, which uses unique genetically humanized mice to produce optimized fully human antibodies and bispecific antibodies, and through ambitious research initiatives such as the Regeneron Genetics Center, which is conducting one of the largest genetics sequencing efforts in the world.
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