European Commission approves rituximab biosimilar


Follicular lymphoma Follicular lymphoma

The European Commission has approved a biosimilar rituximab product, Truxima™, for all the same indications as the reference product, MabThera.

This means Truxima (formerly called CT-P10) is approved for use in the European Union to treat patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA).

Truxima, a product of Celltrion Healthcare Hungary Kft, is the first biosimilar monoclonal antibody approved in an oncology indication worldwide.

The approval is based on data submitted to the European Medicines Agency.

The agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) said the evidence suggests Truxima and MabThera are similar in terms of efficacy, safety, immunogenicity, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics in patients with RA and advanced follicular lymphoma (FL).

Therefore, the European Commission approved Truxima for the following indications.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Truxima is indicated for use in combination with chemotherapy to treat previously untreated patients with stage III-IV FL.

Truxima maintenance therapy is indicated for the treatment of FL patients responding to induction therapy.

Truxima monotherapy is indicated for the treatment of patients with stage III-IV FL who are chemo-resistant or are in their second or subsequent relapse after chemotherapy.

Truxima is indicated for use in combination with CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone) for the treatment of patients with CD20-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Truxima in combination with chemotherapy is indicated for the treatment of patients with previously untreated and relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The CHMP noted that limited efficacy and safety data are available for patients previously treated with monoclonal antibodies, including rituximab, or patients who are refractory to previous rituximab plus chemotherapy.

RA, GPA, and MPA

Truxima in combination with methotrexate is indicated for the treatment of adults with severe, active RA who have had an inadequate response to or cannot tolerate other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, including one or more tumor necrosis factor inhibitor therapies.

Truxima in combination with glucocorticoids is indicated for the induction of remission in adults with severe, active GPA or MPA.

Truxima studies

There are 3 ongoing, phase 3 trials of Truxima in patients with RA (NCT02149121), advanced FL (NCT02162771), and low-tumor-burden FL (NCT02260804).

Results from the phase 1/3 trial in patients with newly diagnosed, advanced FL suggest that Truxima and the reference rituximab are similar with regard to pharmacokinetics, immunogenicity, and safety (B Coiffier et al. ASH 2016, abstract 1807).

Results from the phase 3 study of RA patients indicate that Truxima is similar to reference products (EU and US-sourced rituximab) with regard to pharmacodynamics, safety, and efficacy for up to 24 weeks (DH Yoo et al. 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, abstract 1635).

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