ARIAD and Medison Pharma Announce Approval of Iclusig (Ponatinib) in Israel

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & PETACH TIKVA, Israel--()--ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) and Medison Pharma Ltd, Israel's leading international marketing group for innovative pharmaceuticals, today announced that the Israeli Ministry of Health has granted regulatory approval for Iclusig® (ponatinib) in Israel for adult patients with:

  • Chronic phase, accelerated phase, or blast phase chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) who are resistant to dasatinib or nilotinib, who are intolerant to dasatinib or nilotinib and for whom subsequent treatment with imatinib is not clinically appropriate, or who have the T315I mutation
  • Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (Ph+ ALL) who are resistant to dasatinib, who are intolerant to dasatinib and for whom subsequent treatment with imatinib is not clinically appropriate, or who have the T315I mutation.

ARIAD submitted its application for Iclusig to the Israeli Ministry of Health in June 2014. Commercial launch of Iclusig is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2015.

“Iclusig is an important addition to the treatment armamentarium,” said Professor Arnon Nagler, head of hematology and the Bone Marrow Transplant Division at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Israel, and chairman of the Israeli Bone Marrow Transplant Association. Dr. Nagler added, “Patients in Israel have an excellent health care system, and having this potent and promising drug is an important addition to the national health basket.”

“The swift approval by the Ministry of Health in Israel speaks to the importance of this new therapy to appropriate patients in Israel. We look forward to continued success working with ARIAD and fulfilling Medison’s vision to provide innovative and unique treatments to patients in Israel,” said Meir Jakobsohn, chief executive officer and founder of Medison Pharma.

“We are very pleased with the rapid approval of Iclusig in Israel and the strength of our ongoing collaboration with Medison. This milestone further recognizes the major importance of Iclusig for the treatment of patients with refractory Philadelphia-positive leukemias,” stated Harvey J. Berger, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of ARIAD. “Approval in Israel is an important step in our effort to make Iclusig available to CML patients in need in key regions throughout the world.”

The Ministry of Health decision was based on results from the pivotal Phase 2 PACE (Ponatinib Ph+ ALL and CML Evaluation) trial in patients with CML or Ph+ ALL who were resistant or intolerant to prior tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy, or who had the T315I mutation of BCR-ABL. Iclusig demonstrated anti-leukemic activity achieving a major cytogenetic response (MCyR) in 54 percent of chronic-phase CML patients and in 70 percent of patients with the T315I mutation.1, 2 MCyR within the first 12 months was the primary endpoint of the PACE trial for chronic-phase patients.1, 2

In patients with advanced disease, 57 percent of accelerated-phase CML patients and 34 percent of blast-phase CML patients achieved a major hematologic response (MaHR) with Iclusig. MaHR within the first 6 months was the primary endpoint in the trial for patients with advanced disease. 1, 2

The most common serious adverse reactions >1% were pancreatitis, pyrexia, abdominal pain, myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, anaemia, platelet count decreased, febrile neutropenia, cardiac failure, lipase increased, dyspnea, diarrhoea, neutrophil count decreased, pancytopenia, and pericardial effusion.

Serious arterial cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular occlusive adverse reactions occurred in 6.7%, 5.6%, and 5.1% of Iclusig treated patients, respectively. Serious venous occlusive reactions occurred in 4.5% of patients. The most common (≥20%) adverse reactions of any severity were decrease in platelet count, rash, dry skin, and abdominal pain.2

Based on the European Medicines Agency’s orphan drug designation and the HAEMACARE project, it is estimated that there are approximately 700 patients with CML in Israel.

About Iclusig® (ponatinib)

Iclusig is a kinase inhibitor. The primary target for Iclusig is BCR-ABL, an abnormal tyrosine kinase that is expressed in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL). Iclusig was designed using ARIAD’s computational and structure-based drug design platform specifically to inhibit the activity of BCR-ABL. Iclusig targets not only native BCR-ABL but also its isoforms that carry mutations that confer resistance to treatment, including the T315I mutation, which has been associated with resistance to other approved TKIs.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE BOXED WARNING

WARNING: VASCULAR OCCLUSION, HEART FAILURE, and HEPATOTOXICITY

See full prescribing information for complete boxed warning

  • Vascular Occlusion: Arterial and venous thrombosis and occlusions have occurred in at least 27% of Iclusig treated patients, including fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, stenosis of large arterial vessels of the brain, severe peripheral vascular disease, and the need for urgent revascularization procedures. Patients with and without cardiovascular risk factors, including patients less than 50 years old, experienced these events. Monitor for evidence of thromboembolism and vascular occlusion. Interrupt or stop Iclusig immediately for vascular occlusion. A benefit risk consideration should guide a decision to restart Iclusig therapy.
  • Heart Failure, including fatalities, occurred in 8% of Iclusig-treated patients. Monitor cardiac function. Interrupt or stop Iclusig for new or worsening heart failure.
  • Hepatotoxicity, liver failure and death have occurred in Iclusig-treated patients. Monitor hepatic function. Interrupt Iclusig if hepatotoxicity is suspected.

Vascular Occlusion: Arterial and venous thrombosis and occlusions, including fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, stenosis of large arterial vessels of the brain, severe peripheral vascular disease, and the need for urgent revascularization procedures have occurred in at least 27% of Iclusig-treated patients from the phase 1 and phase 2 trials. Iclusig can also cause recurrent or multi-site vascular occlusion. Overall, 20% of Iclusig-treated patients experienced an arterial occlusion and thrombosis event of any grade. Fatal and life-threatening vascular occlusion has occurred within 2 weeks of starting Iclusig treatment and in patients treated with average daily dose intensities as low as 15 mg per day. The median time to onset of the first vascular occlusion event was 5 months. Patients with and without cardiovascular risk factors have experienced vascular occlusion although these events were more frequent with increasing age and in patients with prior history of ischemia, hypertension, diabetes, or hyperlipidemia. Interrupt or stop Iclusig immediately in patients who develop vascular occlusion events.

Heart Failure: Fatal and serious heart failure or left ventricular dysfunction occurred in 5% of Iclusig-treated patients (22/449). Eight percent of patients (35/449) experienced any grade of heart failure or left ventricular dysfunction. Monitor patients for signs or symptoms consistent with heart failure and treat as clinically indicated, including interruption of Iclusig. Consider discontinuation of Iclusig in patients who develop serious heart failure.

Hepatotoxicity: Iclusig can cause hepatotoxicity, including liver failure and death. Fulminant hepatic failure leading to death occurred in an Iclusig-treated patient within one week of starting Iclusig. Two additional fatal cases of acute liver failure also occurred. The fatal cases occurred in patients with blast phase CML (BP-CML) or Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL). Severe hepatotoxicity occurred in all disease cohorts. Iclusig treatment may result in elevation in ALT, AST, or both. Monitor liver function tests at baseline, then at least monthly or as clinically indicated. Interrupt, reduce or discontinue Iclusig as clinically indicated.

Hypertension: Treatment-emergent hypertension (defined as systolic BP≥140 mm Hg or diastolic BP≥90 mm Hg on at least one occasion) occurred in 67% of patients (300/449). Eight patients treated with Iclusig (2%) experienced treatment-emergent symptomatic hypertension as a serious adverse reaction, including one patient (<1%) with hypertensive crisis. Patients may require urgent clinical intervention for hypertension associated with confusion, headache, chest pain, or shortness of breath. In 131 patients with Stage 1 hypertension at baseline, 61% (80/131) developed Stage 2 hypertension. Monitor and manage blood pressure elevations during Iclusig use and treat hypertension to normalize blood pressure. Interrupt, dose reduce, or stop Iclusig if hypertension is not medically controlled.

Pancreatitis: Clinical pancreatitis occurred in 6% (28/449) of patients (5% Grade 3) treated with Iclusig. Pancreatitis resulted in discontinuation or treatment interruption in 6% of patients (25/449). The incidence of treatment-emergent lipase elevation was 41%. Check serum lipase every 2 weeks for the first 2 months and then monthly thereafter or as clinically indicated. Consider additional serum lipase monitoring in patients with a history of pancreatitis or alcohol abuse. Dose interruption or reduction may be required. In cases where lipase elevations are accompanied by abdominal symptoms, interrupt treatment with Iclusig and evaluate patients for pancreatitis. Do not consider restarting Iclusig until patients have complete resolution of symptoms and lipase levels are less than 1.5 x ULN.

Neuropathy: Peripheral and cranial neuropathy have occurred in Iclusig-treated patients. Overall, 13% (59/449) of Iclusig-treated patients experienced a peripheral neuropathy event of any grade (2%, grade 3/4). In clinical trials, the most common peripheral neuropathies reported were peripheral neuropathy (4%, 18/449), paresthesia (4%, 17/449), hypoesthesia (2%, 11/449), and hyperesthesia (1%, 5/449). Cranial neuropathy developed in 1% (6/449) of Iclusig-treated patients (<1% grade 3/4). Of the patients who developed neuropathy, 31% (20/65) developed neuropathy during the first month of treatment. Monitor patients for symptoms of neuropathy, such as hypoesthesia, hyperesthesia, paresthesia, discomfort, a burning sensation, neuropathic pain or weakness. Consider interrupting Iclusig and evaluate if neuropathy is suspected.

Ocular Toxicity: Serious ocular toxicities leading to blindness or blurred vision have occurred in Iclusig-treated patients. Retinal toxicities including macular edema, retinal vein occlusion, and retinal hemorrhage occurred in 3% of Iclusig-treated patients. Conjunctival or corneal irritation, dry eye, or eye pain occurred in 13% of patients. Visual blurring occurred in 6% of the patients. Other ocular toxicities include cataracts, glaucoma, iritis, iridocyclitis, and ulcerative keratitis. Conduct comprehensive eye exams at baseline and periodically during treatment.

Hemorrhage: Serious bleeding events, including fatalities, occurred in 5% (22/449) of patients treated with Iclusig. Hemorrhagic events occurred in 24% of patients. The incidence of serious bleeding events was higher in patients with accelerated phase CML (AP-CML), BP-CML, and Ph+ ALL. Most hemorrhagic events, but not all occurred in patients with grade 4 thrombocytopenia. Interrupt Iclusig for serious or severe hemorrhage and evaluate.

Fluid Retention: Serious fluid retention events occurred in 3% (13/449) of patients treated with Iclusig. One instance of brain edema was fatal. In total, fluid retention occurred in 23% of the patients. The most common fluid retention events were peripheral edema (16%), pleural effusion (7%), and pericardial effusion (3%). Monitor patients for fluid retention and manage patients as clinically indicated. Interrupt, reduce, or discontinue Iclusig as clinically indicated.

Cardiac Arrhythmias: Symptomatic bradyarrhythmias that led to a requirement for pacemaker implantation occurred in 1% (3/449) of Iclusig-treated patients. Advise patients to report signs and symptoms suggestive of slow heart rate (fainting, dizziness, or chest pain). Supraventricular tachyarrhythmias occurred in 5% (25/449) of Iclusig-treated patients. Atrial fibrillation was the most common supraventricular tachyarrhythmia and occurred in 20 patients. For 13 patients, the event led to hospitalization. Advise patients to report signs and symptoms of rapid heart rate (palpitations, dizziness). Interrupt Iclusig and evaluate.

Myelosuppression: Severe (grade 3 or 4) myelosuppression occurred in 48% (215/449) of patients treated with Iclusig. The incidence of these events was greater in patients with AP-CML, BP-CML and Ph+ ALL than in patients with CP-CML. Obtain complete blood counts every 2 weeks for the first 3 months and then monthly or as clinically indicated, and adjust the dose as recommended.

Tumor Lysis Syndrome: Two patients (<1%) with advanced disease (AP-CML, BP-CML, or Ph+ ALL) treated with Iclusig developed serious tumor lysis syndrome. Hyperuricemia occurred in 7% (30/449) of patients overall; the majority had CP-CML (19 patients). Due to the potential for tumor lysis syndrome in patients with advanced disease, ensure adequate hydration and treat high uric acid levels prior to initiating therapy with Iclusig.

Compromised Wound Healing and Gastrointestinal Perforation: Since Iclusig may compromise wound healing, interrupt Iclusig for at least 1 week prior to major surgery. Serious gastrointestinal perforation (fistula) occurred in one patient 38 days post-cholecystectomy.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Iclusig can cause fetal harm. If Iclusig is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking Iclusig, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Advise women to avoid pregnancy while taking Iclusig.

Most common non-hematologic adverse reactions: (≥20%) were hypertension, rash, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, dry skin, constipation, arthralgia, nausea, and pyrexia. Hematologic adverse reactions included thrombocytopenia, anemia, neutropenia, lymphopenia, and leukopenia.

Please see the full U.S. Prescribing Information for Iclusig, including the Boxed Warning, for additional important safety information.

About Medison

Medison is Israel’s leading marketing group, representing innovative niche healthcare products from companies such as Biogen Idec, Amgen, Shire and Ipsen. Medison has built and maintained long-standing relations with HMOs, local medical centers and physicians. Backed by three generations of experience in the healthcare industry since 1937, Medison is uniquely qualified to provide the complete spectrum of integrated services for international companies looking to enter or expand their presence in the Israeli. Medison has an office and is very also active in Romania. For more information, visit www.medisonpharma.com.

About ARIAD

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc., headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Lausanne, Switzerland, is an integrated global oncology company focused on transforming the lives of cancer patients with breakthrough medicines. ARIAD is working on new medicines to advance the treatment of various forms of chronic and acute leukemia, lung cancer and other difficult-to-treat cancers. ARIAD utilizes computational and structural approaches to design small-molecule drugs that overcome resistance to existing cancer medicines. For additional information, visit http://www.ariad.com or follow ARIAD on Twitter (@ARIADPharm).

Iclusig® is a registered trademark of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Reference:
1. Cortes JE, et al. N Engl J Med. 2013; 369:1783-96.
2. ICLUSIG (ponatinib) European Summary of Product Characteristics

ARIAD Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Any statements contained herein which do not describe historical facts, including but not limited to, statements regarding: the expected timing for commercial launch of Iclusig in Israel; the therapeutic and commercial potential of Iclusig; the strength of our collaboration with Medison; and our efforts to make Iclusig available in additional markets, are forward-looking statements which are based on our management's good-faith expectations and are subject to certain factors, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, outcome of events, timing and performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. These factors, risks and uncertainties include, among others: our ability to manufacture, and supply Iclusig to Medison; the ability of Medison to perform the contracted services, such as obtaining pricing and reimbursement approval for Iclusig in Israel; Medison’s ability to distribute, promote, market and sell Iclusig in Israel; the level of pricing and reimbursement obtained in Israel; the timing and success of sales of Iclusig in Israel; the costs associated with our development and manufacturing, commercial and other activities; the adequacy of capital resources and the availability of additional funding; and those additional factors detailed in our public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Except as otherwise noted, these forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any of these statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after this press release. We caution investors not to place considerable reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. All forward‐looking statements in this press release are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

Contacts

For ARIAD Investors
Kendra Adams, 617-503-7028
Kendra.adams@ariad.com
or
For ARIAD Media
Liza Heapes, 617-621-2315
Liza.heapes@ariad.com
or
For Medison
Goldfinger Communications
Lidor Jacob, 972-3-5620024
lidor@goldfingercom.com

Contacts

For ARIAD Investors
Kendra Adams, 617-503-7028
Kendra.adams@ariad.com
or
For ARIAD Media
Liza Heapes, 617-621-2315
Liza.heapes@ariad.com
or
For Medison
Goldfinger Communications
Lidor Jacob, 972-3-5620024
lidor@goldfingercom.com