SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) and granted Priority Review for the use of Rituxan® (rituximab), in combination with glucocorticoids (GCC), for the treatment of granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) in children two years of age and older. GPA and MPA are rare, potentially life-threatening diseases affecting small and medium sized blood vessels.1
“We are committed to delivering new treatment options for rare diseases, such as pediatric GPA and MPA, for which there are currently no approved medicines,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “We will continue to work closely with the FDA to bring Rituxan to children with these two serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.”
Priority Review Designation is granted to medicines that, if approved, the FDA has determined to have the potential to provide significant improvements in the safety or effectiveness of the treatment of a serious disease.
The sBLA was submitted based on data from the PePRS study, a Phase IIa, global, open-label, single-arm study investigating the safety, pharmacodynamics/pharmacokinetics and exploratory efficacy of intravenous Rituxan in 25 patients with severe GPA or MPA between six and 17 years of age.2 Treatment with four weekly infusions of Rituxan in combination with a tapering course of oral glucocorticoids was assessed in newly diagnosed or relapsing active GPA or MPA pediatric patients.
Rituxan is currently indicated for the treatment of four autoimmune indications. The FDA approved Rituxan for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2006, for the treatment of adults with GPA and MPA in 2011, and for adults with pemphigus vulgaris in 2018. Since 2006, more than 900,000 patients have been treated with Rituxan for autoimmune conditions worldwide. If approved, this would be the first pediatric indication for Rituxan.
About Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis and Microscopic Polyangiitis
Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) (formerly known as Wegener's Granulomatosis) and Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA) are two types of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV).3 AAV is a form of vasculitis, or blood vessel inflammation, that primarily affects small blood vessels.3 In general, GPA and MPA both affect the small blood vessels of the kidneys, lungs, sinuses, and a variety of other organs, but the diseases may affect each person differently.1,4 Both GPA and MPA are considered rare diseases, with an estimated prevalence in the United States of up to three cases per 100,000 people.1,4 Cases of pediatric onset GPA and MPA are even more rare and are associated with severe, potentially life-threatening symptoms.5
What autoimmune diseases does Rituxan treat?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): with another prescription medicine called methotrexate, to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe active RA in adults, after treatment with at least one other medicine called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonist has been used and did not work well enough.
Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) (Wegener’s Granulomatosis) and Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA): with glucocorticoids, to treat adults with GPA and MPA.
Pemphigus vulgaris (PV): to treat adults with moderate to severe PV.
It is not known if Rituxan is safe or effective in children.
Important Side Effect Information
What is the most important information patients should know about Rituxan?
Rituxan can cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:
- Infusion-Related Reactions: Infusion-related reactions are very common side effects of Rituxan treatment. Serious infusion-related reactions can happen during your infusion or within 24 hours after your infusion of Rituxan. Your healthcare provider should give you medicines before your infusion of Rituxan to decrease your chance of having a severe infusion-related reaction
- Severe Skin and Mouth Reactions: Tell your healthcare provider or get medical help right away if you get any of these symptoms at any time during your treatment with Rituxan: painful sores or ulcers on your skin, lips, or in your mouth; blisters; peeling skin; rash; or pustules
- Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation: If you have had hepatitis B or are a carrier of hepatitis B virus, receiving Rituxan could cause the virus to become an active infection again. Hepatitis B reactivation may cause serious liver problems, including liver failure and death. You should not receive Rituxan if you have active hepatitis B liver disease. Your healthcare provider will monitor you for hepatitis B infection during and for several months after you stop receiving Rituxan
- Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML is a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus that can happen in people who receive Rituxan. People with weakened immune systems can get PML. PML can result in death or severe disability. There is no known treatment, prevention, or cure for PML
Before receiving Rituxan, patients should tell their healthcare provider if they:
- have had a severe reaction to Rituxan or a rituximab product
- currently have or have a history of other medical conditions, especially heart disease
- have had a severe infection, currently have an infection, or have a weakened immune system
- have had a recent vaccination or are scheduled to receive vaccinations
- are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Females who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment with Rituxan and for 12 months after the last dose of Rituxan
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Patients should not breastfeed during treatment and for at least 6 months after the last dose of Rituxan
- are taking any medications, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements
What are the possible side effects of Rituxan?
Rituxan can cause serious and life‐threatening side effects, including:
- Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells. TLS can cause you to have kidney failure and the need for dialysis treatment or may cause an abnormal heart rhythm. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms of TLS: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of energy
- Serious Infections: Serious infections can happen during and after treatment with Rituxan and can lead to death. Rituxan can increase your risk of getting infections and can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. People with serious infections should not receive Rituxan
- Heart Problems: Rituxan may cause chest pain, irregular heartbeats, and heart attack. Your healthcare provider may monitor your heart during and after treatment with Rituxan if you have symptoms of heart problems or have a history of heart problems
- Kidney Problems: especially if you are receiving Rituxan for non–Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working
- Stomach and Serious Bowel Problems That Can Sometimes Lead to Death: Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any stomach-area pain during treatment with Rituxan
What are the most common side effects during treatment with Rituxan?
The most common side effects of Rituxan include:
- infusion-related reactions
- infections (may include fever, chills)
- body aches
In patients with GPA or MPA, the most common side effects of Rituxan also include:
- low white and red blood cells
- muscle spasms
Other side effects include:
- aching joints during or within hours of receiving an infusion
- more frequent upper respiratory tract infections
These are not all of the possible side effects with Rituxan. For more information, ask a doctor or pharmacist.
Contact a doctor for medical advice about side effects. Report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA‐1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. Patients may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835‐2555.
Please see the Rituxan Prescribing Information and Medication Guide including Most Serious Side Effects for additional Important Side Effect Information at http://www.rituxan.com.
Genentech and Biogen collaborate on Rituxan in the United States, and Roche markets MabThera in the rest of the world, except Japan, where Rituxan is co-marketed by Chugai and Zenyaku Kogyo Co. Ltd.
Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
1. Medscape. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Wegener Granulomatosis). Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/332622-overview#showall [Last accessed: March 25, 2019]
2. Brogan P, et al. Pediatric Open-Label Clinical Study of Rituximab for the Treatment of Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) and Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA) [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2018; 70 (suppl 10).
3. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health (NIH). ANCA-associated vasculitis. Available at: https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/13011/anca-associated-vasculitis [Last accessed: March 25, 2019]
4. Medscape. Microscopic Polyangiitis. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/334024-overview#showall [Last accessed: March 25, 2019]
5. Iudici M, et al. Childhood-onset granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis: systematic review and meta-analysis. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2016; 11: 141.