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Bristol Myers Squibb’s CAR T Cell Therapy Breyanzi Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Relapsed or Refractory Follicular Lymphoma

Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted accelerated approval for Breyanzi ® (lisocabtagene maraleucel; liso-cel), a CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma (FL) who have received two or more prior lines of systemic therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trial(s). Breyanzi is also now included in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN®) Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for B-cell Lymphomas as a Category 2A recommendation for third-line and subsequent therapy for relapsed or refractory FL.*

In relapsed or refractory FL, Breyanzi is delivered as a one-time infusion** with a single dose containing 90 to 110 x 106 CAR-positive viable T cells. Please see the Important Safety Information section below, including Boxed WARNINGS for Breyanzi regarding Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), Neurologic Toxicities, and Secondary Hematological Malignancies.

“Breyanzi is a cornerstone of our cell therapy portfolio, providing a differentiated profile across a wide array of B-cell malignancies,” said Bryan Campbell, senior vice president, Head of Commercial, Cell Therapy, Bristol Myers Squibb. “Today’s approval of Breyanzi for relapsed or refractory FL provides an option with potential for lasting remission in a one-time infusion and a safety profile that allows for administration and monitoring in both the inpatient and outpatient setting in an increasing number of certified treatment centers in the U.S.”

Historically, FL has been considered an incurable disease, and patients frequently relapse following front-line therapy, with prognosis worsening after each subsequent relapse. Despite advances in treatment, there remains an unmet need for additional options that offer treatment-free intervals with durable, complete responses.

The Phase 2 TRANSCEND FL study included the largest primary analysis set of patients with relapsed or refractory FL of a clinical trial evaluating a CAR T cell therapy in this patient population. Based on the U.S. Prescribing Information (USPI), in patients treated with Breyanzi in the third-line plus setting and included in the primary efficacy analysis set (n=94), the overall response rate (ORR) was 95.7% (95% CI: 89.5-98.8). ORR was defined as the percentage of patients achieving a partial or complete response per Lugano criteria as assessed by an Independent Review Committee (IRC). The complete response (CR) rate was 73.4% (95% CI: 63.3-82.0) and required a negative bone marrow biopsy for confirmation. Responses were rapid and durable with a median time to response of one month (range: 0.6-3.3) and median duration of response (DOR) not reached (95% CI: 18.04-NR), with 80.9% of responders remaining in response at 12 months, and 77.1% of responders remaining in response at 18 months. Results from the primary analysis of TRANSCEND FL presented at the 2023 International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma showed an ORR of 97% (95% CI: 91.6-99.4; one-sided p<0.0001) in efficacy evaluable patients (n=101), with 94% of patients achieving a CR (95% CI: 87.5-97.8; one-sided p<0.0001).

“In the treatment of relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma, patients often cycle through treatments with typically shorter responses with each new line of therapy. Those who have experienced early disease progression have notably poor prognosis,” said M. Lia Palomba, M.D., TRANSCEND investigator and lymphoma and cell therapy specialist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “The FDA approval of liso-cel for patients with relapsed or refractory FL is an important advancement in addressing an ongoing unmet need in the FL treatment paradigm, providing patients a new option that has shown remarkably high response rates and an established safety profile.”

Breyanzi has exhibited a consistent safety profile and across clinical trials, any grade cytokine release syndrome (CRS) occurred in 53% of patients, including Grade >3 CRS in 4% of patients. The median time to onset was 5 days (range: 1 to 63 days). Any grade neurologic events (NEs) occurred in 31% of patients, with Grade >3 NEs occurring in 10% of patients. The median time to onset of NEs was 8 days (range: 1 to 63 days). The safety profile of Breyanzi allows for the option of outpatient treatment and management of patients. Patients in the TRANSCEND FL study were treated in the inpatient and outpatient setting.

“The lymphoma community has felt an urgent need for advancements in the treatment of relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma,” said Meghan Gutierrez, chief executive officer, Lymphoma Research Foundation. “The approval of Breyanzi offers patients a new and meaningful treatment option that provides hope for lasting remission, and we are grateful to those who have contributed to this exciting milestone for patients.”

Bristol Myers Squibb offers various programs and resources to address the needs of patients and caregivers, and provides support that allows for access to therapies, including Breyanzi. Bristol Myers Squibb also supports the patient and physician treatment experience by providing Cell Therapy 360, a digital service platform, which optimizes access to relevant information, manufacturing updates, and patient and caregiver support.

*NCCN makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever regarding their content, use or application and disclaims any responsibility for their application or use in any way.

**Treatment process includes leukapheresis, manufacturing, administration, and adverse event monitoring.

About TRANSCEND FL

TRANSCEND FL (NCT04245839) is an open-label, global, multicenter, Phase 2, single-arm study to determine the efficacy and safety of Breyanzi in patients with relapsed or refractory indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including follicular lymphoma. The primary outcome measure is overall response rate, including best overall response of complete response or partial response as determined by an Independent Review Committee. Secondary outcome measures include complete response rate, duration of response, progression-free survival, and safety.

About FL

Follicular lymphoma (FL) is the second most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and the most common subtype of indolent NHL, accounting for 20 to 30 percent of all NHL cases. The average age of diagnosis for FL is 65 years of age. FL develops when white blood cells cluster together to form lumps in a person’s lymph nodes or organs. It is characterized by periods of remission and relapse, and the disease becomes more difficult to treat after relapse or disease progression.

About Breyanzi

Breyanzi is a CD19-directed CAR T cell therapy with a 4-1BB costimulatory domain, which enhances the expansion and persistence of the CAR T cells. Breyanzi is made from a patient’s own T cells, which are collected and genetically reengineered to become CAR T cells that are then delivered via infusion as a one-time treatment.

Breyanzi is approved in the U.S. for the treatment of relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) after at least one prior line of therapy and received accelerated approval for the treatment of relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma after at least two prior lines of therapy. Breyanzi is also approved in Japan, the European Union (EU), and Switzerland for the second-line treatment or relapsed or refractory LBCL, and in Japan, the European Union, Switzerland, the UK and Canada for relapsed and refractory LBCL after two or more lines of systemic therapy.

Bristol Myers Squibb’s clinical development program for Breyanzi includes clinical studies in other types of lymphoma. For more information, visit clinicaltrials.gov.

Indication

Breyanzi is a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapy indicated for the treatment of:

  • adult patients with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL), including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not otherwise specified (including DLBCL arising from indolent lymphoma), high-grade B cell lymphoma, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, and follicular lymphoma grade 3B, who have:
    • refractory disease to first-line chemoimmunotherapy or relapse within 12 months of first-line chemoimmunotherapy; or
    • refractory disease to first-line chemoimmunotherapy or relapse after first-line chemoimmunotherapy and are not eligible for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) due to comorbidities or age; or
    • relapsed or refractory disease after two or more lines of systemic therapy.

Limitations of Use: Breyanzi is not indicated for the treatment of patients with primary central nervous system lymphoma.

  • Adult patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) who have received at least 2 prior lines of therapy, including a Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor and a B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) inhibitor. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trial(s).
  • Adult patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma (FL) who have received 2 or more prior lines of systemic therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trial(s).

Important Safety Information

BOXED WARNING: CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME, NEUROLOGIC TOXICITIES, AND SECONDARY HEMATOLOGICAL MALIGNANCIES

  • Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving Breyanzi. Do not administer Breyanzi to patients with active infection or inflammatory disorders. Treat severe or life-threatening CRS with tocilizumab with or without corticosteroids.
  • Neurologic toxicities, including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving Breyanzi, including concurrently with CRS, after CRS resolution or in the absence of CRS. Monitor for neurologic events after treatment with Breyanzi. Provide supportive care and/or corticosteroids as needed.
  • T cell malignancies have occurred following treatment of hematologic malignancies with BCMA- and CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapies, including Breyanzi.
  • Breyanzi is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the Breyanzi REMS.

Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS)

Cytokine release syndrome (CRS), including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred following treatment with Breyanzi. In clinical trials of Breyanzi which enrolled a total of 614 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), CRS occurred in 53% of patients, including Grade 3 or higher CRS in 4% of patients. The median time to onset was 5 days (range: 1 to 63 days). CRS resolved in 98% of patients with median duration of 5 days (range: 1 to 37 days). The most common manifestations of CRS (>10%) were fever, hypotension, tachycardia, chills, hypoxia and headache.

Serious events that may be associated with CRS include cardiac arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia), cardiac arrest, cardiac failure, diffuse alveolar damage, renal insufficiency, capillary leak syndrome, hypotension, hypoxia, and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis/macrophage activation syndrome (HLH/MAS).

Ensure that 2 doses of tocilizumab are available prior to infusion of Breyanzi.

Neurologic Toxicities

Neurologic toxicities that were fatal or life-threatening, including immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), occurred following treatment with Breyanzi. Serious events including cerebral edema and seizures occurred with Breyanzi. Fatal and serious cases of leukoencephalopathy, some attributable to fludarabine, also occurred.

In clinical trials of Breyanzi, CAR T cell-associated neurologic toxicities occurred in 31% of patients, including > Grade 3 cases in 10% of patients. The median time to onset of neurotoxicity was 8 days (range: 1 to 63 days). Neurologic toxicities resolved in 87% of patients with a median duration of 8 days (range: 1 to 119 days). Of patients developing neurotoxicity, 81% also developed CRS.

The most common neurologic toxicities (≥ 5%) included encephalopathy, tremor, aphasia, headache, dizziness, and delirium.

CRS and Neurologic Toxicities Monitoring

Monitor patients daily for at least 7 days following Breyanzi infusion at a REMS-certified healthcare facility for signs and symptoms of CRS and neurologic toxicities and assess for other causes of neurological symptoms. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of CRS and neurologic toxicities for at least 4 weeks after infusion and treat promptly. At the first sign of CRS, institute treatment with supportive care, tocilizumab, or tocilizumab and corticosteroids as indicated. Manage neurologic toxicity with supportive care and/or corticosteroid as needed. Counsel patients to seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms of CRS or neurologic toxicity occur at any time.

Breyanzi REMS

Because of the risk of CRS and neurologic toxicities, Breyanzi is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the Breyanzi REMS. The required components of the Breyanzi REMS are:

  • Healthcare facilities that dispense and administer Breyanzi must be enrolled and comply with the REMS requirements.
  • Certified healthcare facilities must have on-site, immediate access to tocilizumab.
  • Ensure that a minimum of 2 doses of tocilizumab are available for each patient for infusion within 2 hours after Breyanzi infusion, if needed for treatment of CRS.

Further information is available at www.BreyanziREMS.com, or contact Bristol Myers Squibb at 1-866-340-7332.

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Allergic reactions may occur with the infusion of Breyanzi. Serious hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, may be due to dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO).

Serious Infections

Severe infections, including life-threatening or fatal infections, have occurred in patients after Breyanzi infusion. In clinical trials of Breyanzi, infections of any grade occurred in 33% of patients, with Grade 3 or higher infections occurring in 12% of all patients. Grade 3 or higher infections with an unspecified pathogen occurred in 7%, bacterial infections in 4%, viral infections in 2%, and fungal infections in 0.7% of patients. One patient who received four prior lines of therapy developed a fatal case of John Cunningham (JC) virus progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy four months after treatment with Breyanzi.

Febrile neutropenia developed after Breyanzi infusion in 8% of patients. Febrile neutropenia 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 as medically indicated.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection before and after Breyanzi administration and treat appropriately. Administer prophylactic antimicrobials according to standard institutional guidelines. Avoid administration of Breyanzi in patients with clinically significant, active systemic infections.

Viral reactivation: 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 B cells. In clinical trials of Breyanzi, 26 of 29 patients with prior history of HBV were treated with concurrent antiviral suppressive therapy. Perform screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV in accordance with clinical guidelines before collection of cells for manufacturing. In patients with prior history of HBV, consider concurrent antiviral suppressive therapy to prevent HBV reactivation per standard guidelines.

Prolonged Cytopenias

Patients may exhibit cytopenias not resolved for several weeks following lymphodepleting chemotherapy and Breyanzi infusion. In clinical trials of Breyanzi, Grade 3 or higher cytopenias persisted at Day 29 following Breyanzi infusion in 34% of patients, and included thrombocytopenia in 24%, neutropenia in 22%, and anemia in 7% of patients. Monitor complete blood counts prior to and after Breyanzi administration.

Hypogammaglobulinemia

B-cell aplasia and hypogammaglobulinemia can occur in patients receiving treatment with Breyanzi. In clinical trials of Breyanzi, hypogammaglobulinemia was reported as an adverse reaction in 10% of patients. Hypogammaglobulinemia, either as an adverse reaction or laboratory IgG level below 500 mg/dL after infusion, was reported in 29% of patients. Monitor immunoglobulin levels after treatment with Breyanzi and manage using infection precautions, antibiotic prophylaxis, and immunoglobulin replacement as clinically indicated.

Live vaccines: The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines during or following Breyanzi 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 Breyanzi treatment, and until immune recovery following treatment with Breyanzi.

Secondary Malignancies

Patients treated with Breyanzi may develop secondary malignancies. T cell malignancies have occurred following treatment of hematologic malignancies with BCMA- and CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapies, including Breyanzi. Mature T cell malignancies, including CAR-positive tumors, may present as soon as weeks following infusion, and may include fatal outcomes. Monitor lifelong for secondary malignancies. In the event that a secondary malignancy occurs, contact Bristol Myers Squibb at 1-888-805-4555 for reporting and to obtain instructions on collection of patient samples for testing.

Effects on Ability to Drive and Use Machines

Due to the potential for neurologic events, including altered mental status or seizures, patients receiving Breyanzi are at risk for developing altered or decreased consciousness or impaired coordination in the 8 weeks following Breyanzi administration. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous occupations or activities, such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery, for at least 8 weeks.

Immune Effector Cell-Associated Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis-Like Syndrome (IEC-HS)

Immune Effector Cell-Associated Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (IEC-HS), including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred following treatment with Breyanzi. Three of 89 (3%) safety evaluable patients with R/R CLL/SLL developed IEC-HS. Time to onset of IEC-HS ranged from 7 to 18 days. Two of the 3 patients developed IEC-HS in the setting of ongoing CRS and 1 in the setting of ongoing neurotoxicity. IEC-HS was fatal in 2 of 3 patients. One patient had fatal IEC-HS and one had ongoing IEC-HS at time of death. IEC-HS is a life-threatening condition with a high mortality rate if not recognized and treated early. Treatment of IEC-HS should be administered per current practice guidelines.

Adverse Reactions

The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 30%) in:

  • LBCL are fever, cytokine release syndrome, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and nausea. The most common Grade 3-4 laboratory abnormalities include lymphocyte count decrease, neutrophil count decrease, platelet count decrease, and hemoglobin decrease.
  • CLL/SLL are cytokine release syndrome, encephalopathy, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, edema, and diarrhea. The most common Grade 3-4 laboratory abnormalities include neutrophil count decrease, white blood cell decrease, hemoglobin decrease, platelet count decrease, and lymphocyte count decrease.
  • FL are cytokine release syndrome. The most common Grade 3-4 laboratory abnormalities include lymphocyte count decreased, neutrophil count decreased, and white blood cell decrease.

Bristol Myers Squibb: Creating a Better Future for People with Cancer

Bristol Myers Squibb is inspired by a single vision—transforming patients’ lives through science. The goal of the company’s cancer research is to deliver medicines that offer each patient a better, healthier life and to make cure a possibility. Building on a legacy across a broad range of cancers that have changed survival expectations for many, Bristol Myers Squibb researchers are exploring new frontiers in personalized medicine, and through innovative digital platforms, are turning data into insights that sharpen their focus. Deep understanding of causal human biology, cutting-edge capabilities and differentiated research platforms uniquely position the company to approach cancer from every angle.

Cancer can have a relentless grasp on many parts of a patient’s life, and Bristol Myers Squibb is committed to taking actions to address all aspects of care, from diagnosis to survivorship. As a leader in cancer care, Bristol Myers Squibb is working to empower all people with cancer to have a better future.

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 BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

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 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, whether Breyanzi (lisocabtagene maraleucel) for the additional indication described in this release will be commercially successful, any marketing approvals, if granted, may have significant limitations on their use, and that continued approval of Breyanzi for such additional indication described in this release may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. 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, 2023, 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.

Source: Bristol Myers Squibb

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