The FINANCIAL — Novartis announced on September 4 that the European Commission has approved Farydak (panobinostat, previously known as LBH589) capsules, in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone, for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior regimens including bortezomib and an immunomodulatory agent (IMiD).
The approval of Farydak marks the first time a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor with epigenetic activity is available in the European Union (EU), providing a new treatment option for patients living with multiple myeloma whose disease has progressed after standard-of-care therapy, according to Novartis.
“Farydak is a welcome advance for people living with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma in Europe,” said Philippe Moreau, MD, Department of Hematology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nantes, France. “Patients with multiple myeloma often relapse or stop responding to treatments; Farydak offers a new mechanism of action, which may improve the effectiveness of response to standard-of-care treatment in patients.”
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in the bone marrow, and affects approximately 84,000 people in Europe. Farydak is the first HDAC inhibitor to show efficacy in multiple myeloma. As an HDAC inhibitor, its epigenetic activity may help restore cell function in patients with multiple myeloma.
The EU approval of Farydak is based on efficacy and safety data in a subgroup analysis of 147 patients who had received at least two prior regimens, including bortezomib and an IMiD, during the Phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter global registration trial, called PANORAMA-1 (PANobinostat ORAl in Multiple MyelomA), evaluating Farydak in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone against bortezomib and dexamethasone alone in patients with relapsed and/or relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. The trial found that the median progression-free survival (PFS) benefit in this subgroup increased by 7.8 months in Farydak patients who had received prior treatment with both bortezomib and an IMiD (12.5 months; n=73), as compared to the placebo arm (4.7 months; n=74) (hazard ratio=0.47 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.31, 0.72]).
The most common non-hematological adverse reactions included diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Treatment-emergent hematological toxicities included thrombocytopenia, anemia, neutropenia and lymphopenia. QTc prolongation of >480 and <500 msec was recorded in 1.3% of patients and change from baseline of >60 msec was observed in 0.8% of patients. No patients had an absolute QTc prolongation of >500 msec. Cardiac events (most frequently atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, palpitation and sinus tachycardia) were reported in 17.6% of the Farydak-treated patients versus 9.8% of placebo-treated patients and syncope events were reported in 6.0% versus 2.4%. Discontinuation due to adverse events (AEs), regardless of causality, was observed in 36.2% of patients. The most common AEs leading to treatment discontinuation were diarrhea (4.5%), asthenia and fatigue (2.9% each) and pneumonia (1.3%). On treatment deaths not due to the study indication (multiple myeloma) were reported in 6.8% of Farydak-treated patients versus 3.2% of placebo-treated patients.
“With the approval of Farydak in the European Union, we hope to address critically important treatment needs faced by the multiple myeloma community-disease progression and treatment resistance,” said Bruno Strigini, President, Novartis Oncology. “This milestone, the approval of a first in its class treatment option for patients in need of new therapies, is the result of more than 13 years of dedicated research, which has helped us better understand the development of multiple myeloma.”
Farydak in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone is also approved in the US, Chile and Japan for certain patients with previously treated multiple myeloma. The exact indication for Farydak varies by country. In the US, Farydak is approved in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior regimens, including bortezomib and an IMiD. Continued approval in the US may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.