Teva Pharma (TEVA) Receives Approval in Europe for Expanded Trisenox Indication as APL Treatment
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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., (NYSE: TEVA) announced it has obtained approval from the European Commission for an indication extension of Trisenox (arsenic trioxide). This marks an important advancement in treatment for Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) patients in Europe, as it is the first time that a form of acute leukemia can be effectively treated with a regimen that is entirely chemotherapy-free. APL is a rare and aggressive type of acute leukemia that can kill within hours or days if left untreated2. Trisenox®, in combination with retinoic acid, has shown a 99% overall survival rate with almost no relapses after more than four years (50 months) of median follow-up1.
“Teva is committed to providing wider access to high-quality medicines to ensure more people can benefit from the treatments they need. We’re very pleased by this decision of the European Commission, and we look forward to offering a chemotherapy-free treatment option for all newly diagnosed APL patients,” said Rob Koremans, MD, President & CEO, Teva Global Specialty Medicines.
The decision by the European Commission, which follows a positive recommendation from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on October 13, grants marketing authorization for first line use of Trisenox® in the 28 countries of the European Union. The indication extension is for newly diagnosed low to intermediate risk Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) in combination with retinoic acid. Today’s announcement points to a recognition by the European Commission that treating low to intermediate risk APL with a chemo-free regimen of Trisenox® plus retinoic acid can increase survival rates, dramatically reduce the risk of relapse, and help avoid chemotherapy-related side effects, such as the risk of life-threatening infections.
Welcoming the approval, Francesco Lo-Coco, Professor of Haematology and Head of the Laboratory of Integrated Diagnosis of Oncohematologic Diseases, Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy said, “This approval by the European Commission is good news for APL patients as we now have access to a cure for an acute leukemia without using chemotherapy. Moreover, this decision is a very positive endorsement by the European Commission, as it was made based solely on published academic research and studies. From now on, APL patients with non-high risk disease will have access to this chemotherapy-free regimen of Trisenox® plus retinoic acid at diagnosis, which has the potential to increase survival rates while minimizing side effects associated with chemotherapy.”
In Europe, approximately 1,500 to 2,000 people are diagnosed with APL each year3. APL, a life-threatening form of leukemia, can cause uncontrollable bleeding leading rapidly to death if left untreated2. The rapid progression of APL leading to early mortality is a substantial problem, affecting up to 30% of patients4. Rapid diagnosis and commencement of treatment is essential to avoid early mortality2,5.
About Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia
Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia is a form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer of the blood-forming tissue (bone marrow). Approximately 5% to 10% of patients initially diagnosed with AML present with the aggressive sub-type of the condition, APL6.
In normal bone marrow, hematopoietic stem cells produce red blood cells (erythrocytes) that carry oxygen, white blood cells (leukocytes) that protect the body from infection, and platelets (thrombocytes) that are involved in blood clotting. In APL, immature white blood cells called promyelocytes accumulate in the bone marrow. The overgrowth of promyelocytes leads to a shortage of normal white and red blood cells and platelets in the body, which causes many of the signs and symptoms of the condition.
People with APL are especially susceptible to developing bruises, small red dots under the skin (petechiae), nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums, blood in the urine (hematuria), or excessive menstrual bleeding. The most important lethal bleeding sites are pulmonary (35%) and intracranial (65%)7. The abnormal bleeding and bruising occur because leukemic blasts produce anticoagulant factors and substances are released that cause excessive blood clotting, leading as a consequence to a low number of platelets in the blood (thrombocytopenia). The low number of red blood cells (anemia) can cause people with acute promyelocytic leukemia to have pale skin (pallor) or excessive tiredness (fatigue). In addition, affected individuals may heal slowly from injuries or have frequent infections due to the decrease of normal white blood cells that fight infection. Furthermore, the leukemic cells can expand into the bones and joints, which may cause pain in those areas. Other general signs and symptoms may occur as well, such as fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
APL is generally diagnosed in much younger patients than in AML (the median age is approximately mid-408,9 for APL patients and 67 for AML patients10), and can be diagnosed in patients of any age.
1. Journal of Clinical Oncology, July 11, 2016 as 10.1200/JCO.2016.67.1982.Improved Outcomes With Retinoic Acid and Arsenic Trioxide Compared With Retinoic Acid and Chemotherapy in Non–High-Risk Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia: Final Results of the Randomized Italian-German APL0406 Trial. Professor Uwe Platzbecker et al. http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/doi/10.1200/JCO.2016.67.1982
2. Coombs CC, et al. Blood Cancer J. 2015;5,e304.
3. Sant M, Allemani C, Tereanu C, De Angelis R, Capocaccia R, Visser O, et al. Incidence of hematologic malignancies in Europe by morphologic subtype: results of the HAEMACARE project. Blood 2010;116(19):3724-34.
4. Lehmann S, Ravn A, Carlsson L, et al. Continuing high early death rate in acute promyelocytic leukemia: a population based report from the Swedish Adult Acute Leukemia Registry. Leukemia 2011;25:1128–34
5. Lo-Coco F. Blood. 2011;118:1188-9
6. Cicconi L, Lo-Coco F. Ann Oncol. 2016;27:1847-81
7. De la Serna J, et al. Blood. 2008;111:3395-402
8. Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al, eds. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2012, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD. http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2012/, based on November 2014 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2015. Accessed June 8, 2016.
9. Lo-Coco F, Cicconi L, Breccia M. Current standard treatment of adult acute promyelocytic leukaemia. Br J Haematol. 2015. doi.10.1111.bjh.13890.
10. National Cancer Institute SEER Stat Factsheet Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/amyl.html accessed 16 Nov 2016
11. Soignet SL, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2001;19:3852-3860.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE and TASE: TEVA) is a leading global pharmaceutical company that delivers high-quality, patient-centric healthcare solutions used by millions of patients every day. Headquartered in Israel, Teva is the world’s largest generic medicines producer, leveraging its portfolio of more than 1,800 molecules to produce a wide range of generic products in nearly every therapeutic area. In specialty medicines, Teva has a world-leading position in innovative treatments for disorders of the central nervous system, including pain, as well as a strong portfolio of respiratory products. Teva integrates its generics and specialty capabilities in its global research and development division to create new ways of addressing unmet patient needs by combining drug development capabilities with devices, services and technologies. Teva's net revenues in 2015 were $19.7 billion. For more information, visit www.tevapharm.com.
Teva's Safe Harbor Statement under the U. S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995:
This release contains forward-looking statements, which are based on management’s current beliefs and expectations and involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause our future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include risks relating to: our ability to develop and commercialize additional pharmaceutical products; competition for our specialty products, especially Copaxone® (which faces competition from orally-administered alternatives and a generic version); our ability to integrate Allergan plc’s worldwide generic pharmaceuticals business (“Actavis Generics”) and to realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition (and the timing of realizing such benefits); the fact that following the consummation of the Actavis Generics acquisition, we are dependent to a much larger extent than previously on our generic pharmaceutical business; potential restrictions on our ability to engage in additional transactions or incur additional indebtedness as a result of the substantial amount of debt incurred to finance the Actavis Generics acquisition; the fact that for a period of time following the Actavis Generics acquisition, we will have significantly less cash on hand than previously, which could adversely affect our ability to grow; the possibility of material fines, penalties and other sanctions and other adverse consequences arising out of our ongoing FCPA investigations and related matters; our ability to achieve expected results from investments in our pipeline of specialty and other products; our ability to identify and successfully bid for suitable acquisition targets or licensing opportunities, or to consummate and integrate acquisitions; the extent to which any manufacturing or quality control problems damage our reputation for quality production and require costly remediation; increased government scrutiny in both the U.S. and Europe of our patent settlement agreements; our exposure to currency fluctuations and restrictions as well as credit risks; the effectiveness of our patents, confidentiality agreements and other measures to protect the intellectual property rights of our specialty medicines; the effects of reforms in healthcare regulation and pharmaceutical pricing, reimbursement and coverage; competition for our generic products, both from other pharmaceutical companies and as a result of increased governmental pricing pressures; governmental investigations into sales and marketing practices, particularly for our specialty pharmaceutical products; adverse effects of political or economic instability, major hostilities or acts of terrorism on our significant worldwide operations; interruptions in our supply chain or problems with internal or third-party information technology systems that adversely affect our complex manufacturing processes; significant disruptions of our information technology systems or breaches of our data security; competition for our specialty pharmaceutical businesses from companies with greater resources and capabilities; the impact of continuing consolidation of our distributors and customers; decreased opportunities to obtain U.S. market exclusivity for significant new generic products; potential liability in the U.S., Europe and other markets for sales of generic products prior to a final resolution of outstanding patent litigation; our potential exposure to product liability claims that are not covered by insurance; any failure to recruit or retain key personnel, or to attract additional executive and managerial talent; any failures to comply with complex Medicare and Medicaid reporting and payment obligations; significant impairment charges relating to intangible assets, goodwill and property, plant and equipment; the effects of increased leverage and our resulting reliance on access to the capital markets; potentially significant increases in tax liabilities; the effect on our overall effective tax rate of the termination or expiration of governmental programs or tax benefits, or of a change in our business; variations in patent laws that may adversely affect our ability to manufacture our products in the most efficient manner; environmental risks; and other factors that are discussed in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2015 and in our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and we assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or other information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Kevin C. Mannix, (215) 591-8912
Ran Meir, (215) 591-3033
Tomer Amitai, 972 (3) 926-7656
Iris Beck Codner, 972 (3) 926-7687
Denise Bradley, (215) 591-8974
Paul Williams, +31 (0)20 2193 312
Source: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
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