Genentech has announced submission of a supplemental New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Venclexta (venetoclax), in combination with a hypomethylating agent or in combination with low dose cytarabine (LDAC), for treatment of people with previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy.
“Nearly 20,000 people will be diagnosed with AML in the U.S. this year, and many of them are not eligible to receive standard intensive chemotherapy,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “AML is an aggressive disease with the lowest survival rate of all leukemias, and we look forward to working closely with the FDA to bring this potential option to patients with this very difficult-to-treat blood cancer as soon as possible.”
The FDA previously granted two breakthrough therapy designations for Venclexta in previously untreated AML ineligible for intensive chemotherapy, either in combination with hypomethylating agents or LDAC, based on results from these two studies. Recently, the FDA approved Venclexta in combination with Rituxan (rituximab) for the treatment of people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), with or without 17p deletion, who have received at least one prior therapy. A robust clinical development program is ongoing in several other cancer types.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common type of aggressive leukemia in adults, which has the lowest survival rate for all types of leukemia. In 2018, it is estimated there will be nearly 20,000 new cases of AML diagnosed in the U.S.
Venclexta is a small molecule designed to selectively bind and inhibit the BCL-2 protein, which plays an important role in a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death). Overexpression of the BCL-2 protein in AML has been associated with resistance to certain therapies. It is believed that blocking BCL-2 may restore the signaling system that tells cells, including cancer cells, to self-destruct.
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