Bristol Myers Squibb Presents Positive Late-Breaking Data from Phase 3 True North Trial Evaluating Zeposia (ozanimod) in Adult Patients with Moderate to Severe Ulcerative Colitis


Both primary and all key secondary efficacy endpoints showed statistically significant improvements with oral Zeposia versus placebo at Week 10 and Week 52

No new safety signals were observed with Zeposia in the True North study

Results to be presented in two late-breaking oral presentations at UEG Week Virtual 2020

PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) today announced detailed results from True North, a pivotal, placebo-controlled Phase 3 trial evaluating oral Zeposia (ozanimod) as an induction and maintenance therapy in adult patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC). True North met both primary endpoints, demonstrating highly statistically significant and clinically meaningful results for clinical remission compared to placebo at induction at Week 10 (18.4% versus 6.0%; p-value<0.0001) and in maintenance at Week 52 (37.0% vs 18.5%; p<0.0001).The study also met key secondary endpoints, including clinical response, endoscopic improvement and mucosal healing in induction at Week 10 and in maintenance at Week 52. Significantly more patients treated with Zeposia compared to placebo achieved clinical response at Week 10 (47.8% vs 25.9%; p<0.0001) and at Week 52 (60.0% vs 41.0%; p<0.0001) with consistent results across sub-analyses. The overall safety observed was consistent with the known safety profile for Zeposia and patients with moderate to severe UC.

Efficacy and safety results from the 10-week induction period (Abstract LB02, UEG Research Prize 2020 Session) and from the maintenance period at Week 52 (Abstract LB10) from True North will be presented on October 11 at 12:32 CEST and at 15:24 CEST, respectively, in two late-breaking oral presentations at UEG Week Virtual 2020.

“The data from the Zeposia True North trial demonstrate patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis achieved clinically meaningful improvements in key clinical, endoscopic and mucosal healing endpoints,” said William Sandborn, M.D., chief, Division of Gastroenterology and director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at University of California (UC), San Diego Health and professor of medicine, UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Notably, the endoscopic and histologic benefits, which can be difficult to achieve, suggest Zeposia has the potential to address the need for a safe and effective oral treatment option for this serious, chronic disease.”

All key secondary efficacy endpoints showed statistically significant improvements for patients treated with Zeposia compared to placebo at Week 10 and Week 52. Findings include:

Induction Period (Week 10)

  • At Week 10, key secondary endpoints were highly statistically significant and showed more patients treated with Zeposia achieved clinical response, endoscopic improvement and mucosal healing compared to placebo.
  • In patients with prior TNF-inhibitor exposure, clinical remission results favored Zeposia over placebo, but findings were not significant at Week 10. A nominally statistically significant difference was observed for clinical response (p=0.008).

Maintenance Period (Week 52)

  • At Week 52, highly statistically significant results were achieved for patients treated with Zeposia compared to placebo, including clinical response, endoscopic improvement, maintenance of remission, corticosteroid-free remission, mucosal healing and durable remission.
  • Clinical remission and response improved with Zeposia regardless of previous TNF-inhibitor use at Week 52.

In the induction period, the most common treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) for patients who received Zeposia versus placebo, respectively, were anemia (4.2% vs 5.6%), nasopharyngitis (3.5% vs 1.4%) and headache (3.3% vs 1.9%). In the maintenance period, the most common TEAEs for Zeposia versus placebo, respectively, were alanine aminotransferase increase (4.8% vs 0.4%; no serious events), and headache (3.5% vs 0.4%).

“These Zeposia True North results represent a meaningful achievement for patients living with ulcerative colitis, many of whom have an inadequate response or do not respond at all to currently available therapies,” said Mary Beth Harler, M.D., head of Immunology and Fibrosis Development, Bristol Myers Squibb. “We look forward to working with health authorities to bring Zeposia to this patient population and remain committed to pursuing new scientific advances to help deliver transformational medicines for the gastroenterology community.”

Virtual Investor Event

Bristol Myers Squibb will host a virtual Investor Event on Monday, October 12, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. EDT to discuss the Zeposia Phase 3 True Northdata presented at UEG Week Virtual 2020. Company executives will provide an overview of data presented and address questions from investors and analysts.

Investors and the general public are invited to listen to a live webcast at or by calling the U.S. toll free at 1-800-458-4121 or international +1 313-209-6672, confirmation code: 9071827, or using this link, which becomes active 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time and entering your information to be connected. Materials related to the webcast will be available at the same website prior to the event. An archived edition of the session will be available later that day.

About True North

True North is a Phase 3, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing the efficacy and safety of Zeposia 1mg in patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis who did not adequately respond to prior treatment. In the induction phase, a total of 645 patients were randomized to receive Zeposia (n=429) or placebo (n=216), of whom 94% and 89%, respectively, completed the induction period. At study entry, mean age was 42 years, 60% were male and mean disease duration was 7 years; patient characteristics were well-balanced across treatment groups. Cohort 1 patients were randomized 2:1 to Zeposia or placebo and treated once daily for 10 weeks. Cohort 2 (n=367) was an open-label arm, and included to allow adequate patient numbers for the maintenance phase of the trial. Cohort 2 patients were treated once daily with Zeposia for 10 weeks.

For the maintenance phase, 457 patients were re-randomized to maintenance treatment with either Zeposia (n=230) or placebo (n=227). Of these, 80% and 54.6% of patients who received Zeposia and placebo, respectively, completed the study; disease relapse (13.5% Zeposia, 33.9% placebo) was the most common reason for discontinuation. Patients on Zeposia from either Cohort 1 or 2 who achieved clinical response in the induction phase at Week 10 were re-randomized 1:1 to Zeposia or placebo through Week 52. Patients on placebo who achieved clinical response in the induction phase at Week 10 remained on placebo during this blinded maintenance phase.

In Cohort 1 of the induction phase and in the re-randomized patient group in the maintenance phase, 30% of patients had prior TNF-inhibitor exposure.

All eligible patients were rolled into an open-label extension trial, which is ongoing and designed to assess the longer-term profile of Zeposia for the treatment of moderate to severe ulcerative colitis.

The primary endpoints in True North are the proportion of patients in clinical remission based on a composite clinical and endoscopic score (3-component Mayo Score) at Week 10 in the induction phase, and at Week 52 for the maintenance phase. Secondary endpoints include the proportion of patients achieving clinical response at Week 10 and Week 52, the proportion of patients with endoscopic improvement (endoscopy score ≤1) at Week 10 and Week 52, the proportion of patients with mucosal healing at Week 10 and Week 52, and clinical remission at Week 52 in patients that were in remission at Week 10. In this study, mucosal healing is defined as endoscopic improvement with histologic remission. More information can be found on, NCT02435992.

Topline results from True North were previously announced in June 2020.

About Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is characterized by an abnormal, prolonged immune response that creates long-lasting inflammation and ulcers (sores) in the mucosa (lining) of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Symptoms, including bloody stools, severe diarrhea and frequent abdominal pain, usually develop over time rather than suddenly. Ulcerative colitis has a major impact on patients' health-related quality of life, including physical functioning, social and emotional well-being and ability to work. Many patients have an inadequate response or do not respond at all to currently available therapies. It is estimated that approximately 12.6 million people worldwide have IBD.

About Zeposia (ozanimod)

Zeposia (ozanimod) is an oral, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator that binds with high affinity to S1P receptors 1 and 5. Zeposia reduces the capacity of lymphocytes to exit from lymph nodes, reducing the number of circulating lymphocytes in peripheral blood. The mechanism by which Zeposia exerts therapeutic effects in ulcerative colitis is unknown but may involve the reduction of lymphocyte migration into the inflamed intestinal mucosa.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zeposia for the treatment of adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS) in March 2020.The European Commission approved Zeposia for the treatment of adult patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) with active disease as defined by clinical or imaging features in May 2020. Bristol Myers Squibb is also investigating Zeposia forthe treatment of moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease in the ongoing Phase 3 YELLOWSTONE clinical trial program.


ZEPOSIA is indicated for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.



  • Patients who in the last 6 months, experienced myocardial infarction, unstable angina, stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), decompensated heart failure requiring hospitalization, or Class III/IV heart failure or have a presence of Mobitz type II second or third-degree atrioventricular (AV) block, sick sinus syndrome, or sino-atrial, unless the patient has a functioning pacemaker
  • Patients with severe untreated sleep apnea
  • Patients taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor

Infections: ZEPOSIAmay increase the susceptibility to infections. Life-threatening and rare fatal infections have occurred in patients receiving ZEPOSIA. Obtain a recent (i.e., within 6 months or after discontinuation of prior MS therapy) complete blood count (CBC) including lymphocyte count before initiation of ZEPOSIA. Delay initiation of ZEPOSIAin patients with an active infection until the infection is resolved. Consider interruption of treatment with ZEPOSIAif a patient develops a serious infection. Continue monitoring for infections up to 3 months after discontinuing ZEPOSIA

  • Herpes zoster was reported as an adverse reaction in ZEPOSIA-treated patients. Herpes simplex encephalitis and varicella zoster meningitis have been reported with sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulators. Patients without a healthcare professional-confirmed history of varicella (chickenpox), or without documentation of a full course of vaccination against varicella zoster virus (VZV), should be tested for antibodies to VZV before initiating ZEPOSIA. A full course of vaccination for antibody-negative patients with varicella vaccine is recommended prior to commencing treatment with ZEPOSIA
  • Cases of fatal cryptococcal meningitis (CM) were reported in patients treated with another S1P receptor modulator. If CM is suspected, ZEPOSIAshould be suspended until cryptococcal infection has been excluded. If CM is diagnosed, appropriate treatment should be initiated.
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) is an opportunistic viral infection of the brain that typically occurs in patients who are immunocompromised, and that usually leads to death or severe disability. No cases of PML were identified in active-controlled MS clinical trials with ZEPOSIA. PML has been reported in patients treated with S1P receptor modulators and other MS therapies and has been associated with some risk factors. If PML is suspected, withhold ZEPOSIAand perform an appropriate diagnostic evaluation. If confirmed, treatment with ZEPOSIAshould be discontinued
  • In clinical studies, patients who received ZEPOSIAwere not to receive concomitant treatment with antineoplastic, non-corticosteroid immunosuppressive, or immune-modulating therapies used for treatment of MS. Concomitant use of ZEPOSIAwith any of these therapies would be expected to increase the risk of immunosuppression. When switching to ZEPOSIAfrom immunosuppressive medications, consider the duration of their effects and their mode of action to avoid unintended additive immunosuppressive effects
  • Use of live attenuated vaccines should be avoided during and for 3 months after treatment with ZEPOSIA. If live attenuated vaccine immunizations are required, administer at least 1 month prior to initiation of ZEPOSIA

Bradyarrhythmia and Atrioventricular Conduction Delays: Since initiation of ZEPOSIAmay result in a transient decrease in heart rate and atrioventricular conduction delays, dose titration is recommended to help reduce cardiac effects. Initiation of ZEPOSIAwithout dose escalation may result in greater decreases in heart rate. If treatment with ZEPOSIAis considered, advice from a cardiologist should be sought for those individuals:

  • with significant QT prolongation
  • with arrhythmias requiring treatment with Class 1a or III anti-arrhythmic drugs
  • with ischemic heart disease, heart failure, history of cardiac arrest or myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular disease, and uncontrolled hypertension
  • with a history of Mobitz type II second-degree or higher AV block, sick-sinus syndrome, or sinoatrial heart block

Liver Injury: Elevations of aminotransferases may occur in patients receiving ZEPOSIA. Obtain liver function tests, if not recently available (i.e., within 6 months), before initiation of ZEPOSIA. Patients who develop symptoms suggestive of hepatic dysfunction should have hepatic enzymes checked and ZEPOSIAshould be discontinued if significant liver injury is confirmed. Caution should be exercised when using ZEPOSIAin patients with history of significant liver disease

Fetal Risk: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Based on animal studies, ZEPOSIA may cause fetal harm. Women of childbearing potential should use effective contraception to avoid pregnancy during treatment and for 3 months after stopping ZEPOSIA

Increased Blood Pressure: Increase in systolic pressure was observed after about 3 months of treatment and persisted throughout treatment. Blood pressure should be monitored during treatment and managed appropriately. Certain foods that may contain very high amounts of tyramine could cause severe hypertension in patients taking ZEPOSIA. Patients should be advised to avoid foods containing a very large amount of tyramine while taking ZEPOSIA

Respiratory Effects: ZEPOSIAmay cause a decline in pulmonary function. Spirometric evaluation of respiratory function should be performed during therapy, if clinically indicated

Macular edema: S1P modulators have been associated with an increased risk of macular edema. Patients with a history of uveitis or diabetes mellitus are at increased risk. Patients with a history of these conditions should have an ophthalmic evaluation of the fundus, including the macula, prior to treatment initiation and regular follow-up examinations. An ophthalmic evaluation is recommended in all patients at any time if there is a change in vision. Continued use of ZEPOSIAin patients with macular edema has not been evaluated; potential benefits and risks for the individual patient should be considered if deciding whether ZEPOSIAshould be discontinued

Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome (PRES): Rare cases of PRES have been reported in patients receiving a S1P receptor modulator. If a ZEPOSIA-treated patient develops unexpected neurological or psychiatric symptoms or any symptom/sign suggestive of an increase in intracranial pressure, a complete physical and neurological examination should be conducted. Symptoms of PRES are usually reversible but may evolve into ischemic stroke or cerebral hemorrhage. Delay in diagnosis and treatment may lead to permanent neurological sequelae. If PRES is suspected, treatment with ZEPOSIAshould be discontinued

Unintended Additive Immunosuppressive Effects from Prior Immunosuppressive or Immune-Modulating Drugs: When switching from drugs with prolonged immune effects, the half-life and mode of action of these drugs must be considered to avoid unintended additive immunosuppressive effects while at the same time minimizing risk of disease reactivation. Initiating treatment with ZEPOSIA after treatment with alemtuzumab is not recommended

Severe Increase in Disability After Stopping ZEPOSIA: Severe exacerbation of disease, including disease rebound, has been rarely reported after discontinuation of a S1P receptor modulator. The possibility of severe exacerbation of disease should be considered after stopping ZEPOSIAtreatment so patients should be monitored upon discontinuation

Immune System Effects After Stopping ZEPOSIA: After discontinuing ZEPOSIA, the median time for lymphocyte counts to return to the normal range was 30 days with approximately 90% of patients in the normal range within 3 months. Use of immunosuppressants within this period may lead to an additive effect on the immune system, therefore caution should be applied when initiating other drugs 4 weeks after the last dose of ZEPOSIA

Most common Adverse Reactions (≥ 4%): upper respiratory infection, hepatic transaminase elevation, orthostatic hypotension, urinary tract infection, back pain, and hypertension.

For additional safety information, please see the full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.

About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are wholly owned subsidiaries of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. In certain countries outside the U.S., due to local laws, Celgene and Juno Therapeutics are referred to as, Celgene, a Bristol Myers Squibb company and Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol Myers Squibb company.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding, among other things, the research, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products. All statements that are not statements of historical facts are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on historical performance and current expectations and projections about our future financial results, goals, plans and objectives and involve inherent risks, assumptions and uncertainties, including internal or external factors that could delay, divert or change any of them in the next several years, that are difficult to predict, may be beyond our control and could cause our future financial results, goals, plans and objectives to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the statements. These risks, assumptions, uncertainties and other factors include, among others, that future study results will be consistent with the results to date, that Zeposia (ozanimod) may not receive regulatory approval for the additional indication described in this release and, if approved, whether such product candidate for such additional indication described in this release will be commercially successful. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many risks and uncertainties that affect Bristol Myers Squibb’s business and market, particularly those identified in the cautionary statement and risk factors discussion in Bristol Myers Squibb’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, as updated by our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and except as otherwise required by applicable law, Bristol Myers Squibb undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.


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