Bristol Myers Squibb's Abecma® Becomes First CAR T Approved for Use in Earlier Lines of Therapy for Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma in Japan

12/06/2023

Bristol Myers Squibb's Abecma® Becomes First CAR T Approved for Use in Earlier Lines of Therapy for Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma in Japan

TOKYO, December 6, 2023 - Bristol-Myers Squibb K.K. announced today that the company has received manufacturing and marketing approval of the supplemental New Drug Application for an additional indication for Abecma® (idecabtagene vicleucel), a B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy, for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) who have received at least two prior therapies, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 antibody.

Abecma is the first-in-class BCMA-directed CAR T cell immunotherapy. Abecma recognizes and binds to BCMA on the surface of multiple myeloma cells, which leads to the proliferation of CAR T cells and cytokine release, resulting in the dissolution and death of BCMA-expressing cells.

Commenting on the approval, Makoto Sugita, Bristol Myers Squibb's head of R&D in Japan, said, “Multiple myeloma is an intractable disease with recurrent relapses that are difficult to cure with existing therapies. Treatment options for patients with RRMM are limited, and we are pleased that Abecma is the first CAR T cell therapy to be approved for earlier use as a treatment option to address the unmet needs of these patients. We remain committed to researching and developing innovative therapies to transform patient lives with serious diseases through science.”

The approval is based on the interim analysis from KarMMa-3 (BB2121-MM-003), a global Phase 3 study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of Abecma in patients with RRMM who had received two to four prior therapies, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti CD38 monoclonal antibody daratumumab. The median progression-free survival (mPFS), the primary endpoint, was 13.3 months in the Abecma arm vs 4.4 months in the standard regimen arm, demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful increase in mPFS and a 51% lower risk of disease progression or death in the Abecma arm compared with the standard regimen arm [HR = 0.493 (95.0% CI: 0.377-0.645), p < 0.0001 (log-rank test with stratified factors)]. The overall response rate (ORR), a key secondary endpoint, was 71.3% in the Abecma arm vs 41.7% in the standard regimen arm, and a prespecified stratified test showed a statistically significant improvement for the Abecma arm compared with the standard regimen arm [odds ratio = 3.54 (95.0% CI: 2.26 to 5.54), p < 0.0001 (by a two-sided Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test)]. The study found no new safety signals for Abecma in patients with RRMM previously treated with two to four therapies including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and daratumumab.

Results from the Phase 3 KarMMa-3 study including final PFS analysis and interim overall survival analysis will be presented during the 65th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, California, December 9 – 12, 2023. 

About KarMMa-3 (Study BB2121-MM-003)

KarMMa-3 (BB2121-MM-003) is a pivotal, Phase 3, open-label, global, randomized, controlled trial evaluating Abecma compared to standard therapies in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma who have received two to four prior lines of treatment, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and daratumumab and were refractory to the last treatment regimen. 386 Patients (including 9 Japanese patients) were randomized to receive Abecma or standard therapies that consisted of combinations that included daratumumab, pomalidomide, and dexamethasone (DPd), daratumumab, bortezomib, and dexamethasone (DVd), ixazomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone (IRd), carfilzomib and dexamethasone (Kd) or elotuzumab, pomalidomide and dexamethasone (EPd) chosen by investigators based on their most recent treatment regimen. The primary endpoint evaluated in this study is progression-free survival, defined as time from randomization to the first documentation of progressive disease or death due to any cause, whichever occurs first. Key secondary endpoints include overall response rate and overall survival. 

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a disease in which plasma cells—differentiated B cells—transform into cancerous myeloma cells, which grow primarily in the bone marrow. Plasma cells produce antibodies that protect the body from invasive foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses. When transforming into cancerous myeloma cells, however, plasma cells continue to produce monoclonal immunoglobulin (M protein) that is not capable of attacking the foreign substances. The increase in myeloma cells and M protein causes a variety of clinical manifestations, including hematopoietic disorders (mainly anemia), kidney damage, and osteolytic lesions.[1][2]

Despite advances in treatment, multiple myeloma repeatedly recurs after initial response to treatment, with increased malignancy with an increasing number of therapies, ultimately progressing to a refractory state.[3][4][5] In patients with RRMM treated with the three major drug classes, including proteasome inhibitors, immunomodulatory agents, and anti-CD38 antibodies, the prognosis is poor regardless of the number of prior therapies, and treatment options are limited. In recent years, there has also been an increase in the use of anti-CD38 antibodies in combination with immunomodulatory agents or proteasome inhibitors for the initial treatment or at the first relapse. Thus, there is a need for drugs with novel mechanisms of action, highly effective in patients with multiple myeloma who have relapsed or are refractory to these treatments, irrespective of the number of lines of therapy received.

About Abecma 

In Japan, Abecma was approved for manufacturing and marketing on January 20, 2022, and indicated for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least three prior therapies, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor and an anti-CD38 antibody. In the United States, Abecma was approved in March 2021 for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma after four or more prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody. In the EU, Abecma was approved in August 2021 for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least three prior therapies, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor and an anti-CD38 antibody and have demonstrated disease progression on the last therapy. In addition, Abecma has been approved in Canada, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Israel. Based on results of the KarMMa-3 study, the earlier use of Abecma is currently under review in the United States and the EU.

Abecma U.S. FDA-Approved Indication

ABECMA (idecabtagene vicleucel) is a B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapy indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma after four or more prior lines of therapy, including an immunomodulatory agent, a proteasome inhibitor, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.  

U.S. Important Safety Information 

BOXED WARNING: CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME, NEUROLOGIC TOXICITIES, HLH/MAS, AND PROLONGED CYTOPENIA

  • Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients following treatment with ABECMA. Do not administer ABECMA to patients with active infection or inflammatory disorders. Treat severe or life-threatening CRS with tocilizumab or tocilizumab and corticosteroids.
  • Neurologic Toxicities, which may be severe or life-threatening, occurred following treatment with ABECMA, including concurrently with CRS, after CRS resolution, or in the absence of CRS. Monitor for neurologic events after treatment with ABECMA. Provide supportive care and/or corticosteroids as needed.
  • Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis/Macrophage Activation Syndrome (HLH/MAS) including fatal and life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients following treatment with ABECMA. HLH/MAS can occur with CRS or neurologic toxicities.
  • Prolonged Cytopenia with bleeding and infection, including fatal outcomes following stem cell transplantation for hematopoietic recovery, occurred following treatment with ABECMA.
  • ABECMA is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the ABECMA REMS

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS:

Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS): CRS, including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred following treatment with ABECMA in 85% (108/127) of patients. Grade 3 or higher CRS occurred in 9% (12/127) of patients, with Grade 5 CRS reported in one (0.8%) patient. The median time to onset of CRS, any grade, was 1 day (range: 1 - 23 days) and the median duration of CRS was 7 days (range: 1 - 63 days). The most common manifestations included pyrexia, hypotension, tachycardia, chills, hypoxia, fatigue, and headache. Grade 3 or higher events that may be associated with CRS include hypotension, hypoxia, hyperbilirubinemia, hypofibrinogenemia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), atrial fibrillation, hepatocellular injury, metabolic acidosis, pulmonary edema, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, and HLH/MAS.

Identify CRS based on clinical presentation. Evaluate for and treat other causes of fever, hypoxia, and hypotension. CRS has been reported to be associated with findings of HLH/MAS, and the physiology of the syndromes may overlap. In patients with progressive symptoms of CRS or refractory CRS despite treatment, evaluate for evidence of HLH/MAS.

 Fifty four percent (68/127) of patients received tocilizumab (single dose: 35%; more than 1 dose: 18%). Overall, 15% (19/127) of patients received at least 1 dose of corticosteroids for treatment of CRS. All patients that received corticosteroids for CRS received tocilizumab. Ensure that a minimum of 2 doses of tocilizumab are available prior to infusion of ABECMA.

Monitor patients at least daily for 7 days following ABECMA infusion at the REMS-certified healthcare facility for signs or symptoms of CRS and monitor patients for signs or symptoms of CRS for at least 4 weeks after ABECMA infusion. At the first sign of CRS, institute treatment with supportive care, tocilizumab and/or corticosteroids as indicated.

Counsel patients to seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms of CRS occur at any time.

Neurologic Toxicities: Neurologic toxicities, which may be severe or life-threatening, occurred following treatment with ABECMA in 28% (36/127) of patients receiving ABECMA, including Grade 3 in 4% (5/127) of patients. One patient had ongoing Grade 2 neurotoxicity at the time of death. Two patients had ongoing Grade 1 tremor at the time of data cutoff. The median time to onset of neurotoxicity was 2 days (range: 1 - 42 days). CAR T cell-associated neurotoxicity resolved in 92% (33/36) of patients with a median time to resolution of 5 days (range: 1 - 61 days). The median duration of neurotoxicity was 6 days (range: 1 - 578) in all patients including 3 patients with ongoing neurotoxicity. Thirty-four patients with neurotoxicity had CRS with onset in 3 patients before, 29 patients during, and 2 patients after CRS. The most frequently reported manifestations of CAR T cell-associated neurotoxicity include encephalopathy, tremor, aphasia, and delirium. Grade 4 neurotoxicity and cerebral edema in 1 patient, Grade 3 myelitis, and Grade 3 parkinsonism have been reported with ABECMA in another study in multiple myeloma.

Monitor patients at least daily for 7 days following ABECMA infusion at the REMS-certified healthcare facility for signs or symptoms of neurologic toxicities and monitor patients for signs or symptoms of neurologic toxicities for at least 4 weeks after ABECMA infusion and treat promptly. Rule out other causes of neurologic symptoms. Neurologic toxicity should be managed with supportive care and/or corticosteroids as needed.

Counsel patients to seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms occur at any time.

Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)/Macrophage Activation Syndrome (MAS): HLH/MAS occurred in 4% (5/127) of patients receiving ABECMA. One patient developed fatal multi-organ HLH/MAS with CRS and another patient developed fatal bronchopulmonary aspergillosis with contributory HLH/MAS. Three cases of Grade 2 HLH/MAS resolved. All events of HLH/MAS had onset within 10 days of receiving ABECMA with a median onset of 7 days (range: 4 - 9 days) and occurred in the setting of ongoing or worsening CRS. Two patients with HLH/MAS had overlapping neurotoxicity. The manifestations of HLH/MAS include hypotension, hypoxia, multiple organ dysfunction, renal dysfunction, and cytopenia. HLH/MAS is a potentially life-threatening condition with a high mortality rate if not recognized early and treated. Treatment of HLH/MAS should be administered per institutional guidelines.

ABECMA REMS: Due to the risk of CRS and neurologic toxicities, ABECMA is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the ABECMA REMS. Further information is available at www.AbecmaREMS.com or 1-888-423-5436.

Hypersensitivity Reactions: Allergic reactions may occur with the infusion of ABECMA. Serious hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, may be due to dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in ABECMA.

Infections: ABECMA should not be administered to patients with active infections or inflammatory disorders. Severe, life-threatening, or fatal infections occurred in patients after ABECMA infusion. Infections (all grades) occurred in 70% of patients. Grade 3 or 4 infections occurred in 23% of patients. Overall, 4 patients had Grade 5 infections (3%); 2 patients (1.6%) had Grade 5 events of pneumonia, 1 patient (0.8%) had Grade 5 bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, and 1 patient (0.8%) had cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia associated with Pneumocystis jirovecii. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection before and after ABECMA infusion and treat appropriately. Administer prophylactic, pre-emptive, and/or therapeutic antimicrobials according to standard institutional guidelines.

Febrile neutropenia was observed in 16% (20/127) of patients after ABECMA infusion and may be concurrent with CRS. In the event of febrile neutropenia, evaluate for infection and manage with broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluids, and other supportive care.

Viral Reactivation: CMV infection resulting in pneumonia and death has occurred following ABECMA administration. Monitor and treat for CMV reactivation in accordance with clinical guidelines. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs directed against plasma cells. Perform screening for CMV, HBV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in accordance with clinical guidelines before collection of cells for manufacturing.

Prolonged Cytopenias: In the clinical study, 41% of patients (52/127) experienced prolonged Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia and 49% (62/127) experienced prolonged Grade 3 or 4 thrombocytopenia that had not resolved by Month 1 following ABECMA infusion. In 83% (43/52) of patients who recovered from Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia after Month 1, the median time to recovery from ABECMA infusion was 1.9 months. In 65% (40/62) of patients who recovered from Grade 3 or 4 thrombocytopenia, the median time to recovery was 2.1 months.

Three patients underwent stem cell therapy for hematopoietic reconstitution due to prolonged cytopenia. Two of the three patients died from complications of prolonged cytopenia. Monitor blood counts prior to and after ABECMA infusion. Manage cytopenia with myeloid growth factor and blood product transfusion support.

Hypogammaglobulinemia: Hypogammaglobulinemia was reported as an adverse event in 21% (27/127) of patients; laboratory IgG levels fell below 500 mg/dl after infusion in 25% (32/127) of patients treated with ABECMA.

Monitor immunoglobulin levels after treatment with ABECMA and administer IVIG for IgG <400 mg/dl. Manage appropriately per local institutional guidelines, including infection precautions and antibiotic or antiviral prophylaxis.

The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines during or after ABECMA treatment has not been studied. Vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended for at least 6 weeks prior to the start of lymphodepleting chemotherapy, during ABECMA treatment, and until immune recovery following treatment with ABECMA.

Secondary Malignancies: Patients treated with ABECMA may develop secondary malignancies. Monitor life-long for secondary malignancies. If a secondary malignancy occurs, contact Bristol-Myers Squibb at 1-888-805-4555 to obtain instructions on patient samples to collect for testing of secondary malignancy of T cell origin.

Effects on Ability to Drive and Operate Machinery: Due to the potential for neurologic events, patients receiving ABECMA are at risk for altered or decreased consciousness or coordination in the 8 weeks following ABECMA infusion. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous occupations or activities, such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery, during this initial period.

Adverse Reactions: The most common nonlaboratory adverse reactions include CRS, infections – pathogen unspecified, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, hypogammaglobulinemia, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infection, nausea, viral infections, encephalopathy, edema, pyrexia, cough, headache, and decreased appetite.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS and Medication Guide.

References

  1. Cancer Information Service “Multiple Myeloma” as of October 2023
    (https://ganjoho.jp/public/cancer/MM/index.html
  2. Edited by Japanese Society of Myeloma, Clinical Practice Guidelines for Multiple Myeloma, 5th Edition, 2020.
  3. Yong K, Delforge M, Driessen C, et al. Multiple myeloma: patient outcomes in real-world practice. Br J Haematol. 2016;175(2):252-64.
  4. Gandhi UH, Cornell RF, Lakshman A, et al. Outcomes of patients with multiple myeloma refractory to CD38- targeted monoclonal antibody therapy. Leukemia. 2019;33(9):2266-75.
  5. Kumar SK, Dimopoulos MA, Kastritis E, et al. Natural history of relapsed myeloma, refractory to immunomodulatory drugs and proteasome inhibitors: a multicenter IMWG study. Leukemia. 2017;31(11):2443-8.

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