The FDA has approved Novartis' CAR-T therapy Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) for intravenous infusion for its second indication - the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory (r/r) large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), high grade B-cell lymphoma and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.
Kymriah, developed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, became the first chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy to receive regulatory approval in August 2017 for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory or in second or later relapse. Kymriah is now the only CAR-T cell therapy to receive FDA approval for two distinct indications in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and B-cell ALL.
DLBCL is the most common form of NHL. For patients who relapse or don't respond to initial therapy, there are limited treatment options that provide durable responses, and median life expectancy is approximately six months.
"The goal of Kymriah is to provide physicians with a therapy that has demonstrated durable response rates in relapsed or refractory DLBCL patients, a patient population that has endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy with many having experienced unsuccessful stem cell transplants," said Stephen J. Schuster, MD, the Robert and Margarita Louis-Dreyfus Professor in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Lymphoma Clinical Care and Research in Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and director of the Lymphoma Program at the Abramson Cancer Center. "With this approval, physicians now have a meaningful therapeutic option that can achieve and maintain a sustained response without stem cell transplant along with a consistent safety profile."
Kymriah is a one-time treatment manufactured individually for each patient using the patient's own T cells. Kymriah uses the 4-1BB costimulatory domain in its chimeric antigen receptor to enhance cellular expansion and persistence. In 2012, Novartis and Penn entered into a global collaboration to further research, develop and commercialise CAR-T cell therapies, including Kymriah, for the investigational treatment of cancers.
In January 2018, Novartis announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted accelerated assessment to the Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) for Kymriah for the treatment of children and young adults with r/r B-cell ALL and for adult patients with r/r DLBCL who are ineligible for ASCT.