Santa Monica, Calif. and Melbourne, Australia – August 5, 2021 – Kite, a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD), today announced that its chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel) is now publicly funded and available for patients in Australia with relapsed or refractory CD-19 positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, transformed follicular lymphoma and high grade B-cell lymphoma who meet the eligibility criteria. Yescarta received regulatory approval in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration on February 11, 2020 and has been available for private payors since that time.
Yescarta harnesses a patient’s own immune system, creating modified T cells that recognize CD-19, an antigen overexpressed on the surface of some cancer cells. In a proportion of patients with certain aggressive sub-types of relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), Yescarta has produced a complete response for patients (no detectable cancer).
Jaime McCoy, General Manager, Gilead Sciences Australia and New Zealand, commented, “We are extremely proud that Yescarta is now publicly funded in Australia, providing a new therapy option for those faced with the uncertainty and challenges of an aggressive lymphoma diagnosis.”
The approval and reimbursement of Yescarta in Australia is supported by data from the ZUMA-1 trial of Yescarta in adult patients with certain aggressive sub-types of NHL. In the single-arm trial, 74% of patients (n=75/101) who received a single infusion of Yescarta responded to therapy, with 54% (n=55/101) achieving a complete response (as assessed by an independent review committee, median follow-up of 27.1 months). At two years following infusion, 51% of patients were alive (95% CI: 40, 60) and the median overall survival (OS) had not been reached (95% CI: 12.8, not estimable (NE)). Among Yescarta treated patients (mITT, n = 101), with ≥ 4 years of follow-up (median, 51.1 months), median OS was 25.8 months, and the Kaplan Meier estimate of the 4-year OS rate was 44%. This data was included in the Australian product label and could differ by country based on local health authorities.
Yescarta is a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapy indicated in the U.S. for the treatment of:
U.S. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
BOXED WARNING: CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME AND NEUROLOGIC TOXICITIES
CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME (CRS), including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred. CRS occurred in 88% (224/254) of all patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), including Grade ≥3 in 10%. CRS occurred in 94% (101/108) of patients with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL), including Grade ≥3 in 13%. Among patients with LBCL who died after receiving Yescarta, 4 had ongoing CRS events at the time of death. The median time to onset of CRS was 2 days (range: 1-12 days) and the median duration was 7 days (range: 2-58 days) for patients with LBCL. CRS occurred in 84% (123/146) of patients with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL), including Grade ≥3 in 8% (11/146). Among patients with iNHL who died after receiving Yescarta, 1 patient had an ongoing CRS event at the time of death. The median time to onset of CRS was 4 days (range: 1-20 days) and median duration was 6 days (range: 1-27 days) for patients with iNHL. Key manifestations of CRS (≥10%) in all patients combined included fever (80%), hypotension (38%), tachycardia (29%), hypoxia (21%), chills (21%), and headache (13%). Serious events that may be associated with CRS include cardiac arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia), cardiac arrest, cardiac failure, renal insufficiency, capillary leak syndrome, hypotension, hypoxia, multi-organ failure and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis/macrophage activation syndrome. In a subsequent cohort of LBCL patients, tocilizumab and/or corticosteroids were administered for ongoing Grade 1 events. CRS occurred in 93% (38/41) of these patients and 2% (1/41) had Grade 3 CRS, with no patients experiencing a Grade 4 or 5 event. The median time to onset of CRS was 2 days (range: 1 to 8 days) and the median duration of CRS was 7 days (range: 2 to 16 days). Key manifestations of CRS (>5%) included pyrexia, hypotension, chills, headache, nausea, tachycardia, C-reactive protein increased, fatigue,
hypoxia, and vomiting. Ensure that 2 doses of tocilizumab are available prior to Yescarta infusion. Following infusion, monitor patients for signs and symptoms of CRS at least daily for 7 days at the certified
healthcare facility, and for 4 weeks thereafter. Counsel patients to seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms of CRS occur at any time. At the first sign of CRS, institute treatment with supportive care, tocilizumab, or tocilizumab and corticosteroids as indicated.
NEUROLOGIC TOXICITIES that were fatal or life-threatening occurred. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 81% (206/254) of all patients with NHL receiving Yescarta, including Grade ≥3 in 26%. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 87% (94/108) of patients with LBCL, including Grade ≥3 in 31%. The median time to onset was 4 days (range: 1-43 days) and the median duration was 17 days for patients with LBCL. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 77% (112/146) of patients with iNHL, including Grade ≥3 in 21%. The median time to onset was 6 days (range: 1-79 days) and the median duration was 16 days for patients with iNHL. 98% of all neurologic toxicities in patients with LBCL and 99% of all neurologic toxicities in patients with iNHL occurred within the first 8 weeks of Yescarta infusion. Neurologic toxicities occurred within the first 7 days of infusion for 89% of affected patients with LBCL and 74% of affected patients with iNHL. The most common neurologic toxicities (≥10%) in all patients combined included encephalopathy (53%), headache (45%), tremor (31%), dizziness (20%), delirium (16%), aphasia (15%), and insomnia (11%). Prolonged encephalopathy lasting up to 173 days was noted. Serious events, including leukoencephalopathy and seizures, as well as fatal and serious cases of cerebral edema, have occurred. In a subsequent cohort of LBCL patients who received corticosteroids at the onset of Grade 1 toxicities, neurologic toxicities occurred in 78% (32/41) of these patients and 20% (8/41) had Grade 3 neurologic toxicities with no patients experiencing a Grade 4 or 5 event. The median time to onset of neurologic toxicities was 6 days (range: 1-93 days) with a median duration of 8 days (range: 1-144 days). The most common neurologic toxicities were consistent with the overall LBCL population treated with Yescarta. Following Yescarta infusion, monitor patients for signs and symptoms of neurologic toxicities at least daily for 7 days at the certified healthcare facility, and for 4 weeks thereafter, and treat promptly.
REMS: Because of the risk of CRS and neurologic toxicities, Yescarta is available only through a restricted program called the Yescarta and Tecartus REMS Program which requires that: Healthcare facilities that dispense and administer Yescarta must be enrolled and comply with the REMS requirements and must have on-site, immediate access to a minimum of 2 doses of tocilizumab for each patient for infusion within 2 hours after Yescarta infusion, if needed for treatment of CRS. Certified healthcare facilities must ensure that healthcare providers who prescribe, dispense, or administer Yescarta are trained about the management of CRS and neurologic toxicities. Further information is available at www.YescartaTecartusREMS.com or 1-844-454-KITE (5483).
HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS: Allergic reactions, including serious hypersensitivity reactions or anaphylaxis, may occur with the infusion of Yescarta.
SERIOUS INFECTIONS: Severe or life-threatening infections occurred. Infections (all grades) occurred in 47% (119/254) of all patients with NHL. Grade ≥3 infections occurred in 19% of patients, Grade ≥3 infections with an unspecified pathogen occurred in 15%, bacterial infections in 5%, viral infections in 2%, and fungal infections in 1%. Yescarta should not be administered to patients with clinically significant active systemic infections. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection before and after infusion and treat appropriately. Administer prophylactic anti-microbials according to local guidelines. Febrile neutropenia was observed in 40% of all patients with NHL and may be concurrent with CRS. In the event of febrile neutropenia, evaluate for infection and manage with broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluids, and other supportive care as medically indicated. In immunosuppressed patients, including those who have received Yescarta, life-threatening and fatal opportunistic infections including disseminated fungal infections (e.g., candida sepsis and aspergillus infections) and viral reactivation (e.g., human herpes virus-6 [HHV-6] encephalitis and JC virus progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy [PML]) have been reported. The possibility of HHV-6 encephalitis and PML should be considered in immunosuppressed patients with neurologic events and appropriate diagnostic evaluations should be performed. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs directed against B cells. Perform screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV in accordance with clinical guidelines before collection of cells for manufacturing.
PROLONGED CYTOPENIAS: Patients may exhibit cytopenias for several weeks following lymphodepleting chemotherapy and Yescarta infusion. Grade ≥3 cytopenias not resolved by Day 30 following Yescarta infusion occurred in 30% of all patients with NHL and included neutropenia (22%), thrombocytopenia (13%), and anemia (5%). Monitor blood counts after infusion.
HYPOGAMMAGLOBULINEMIA and B-cell aplasia can occur. Hypogammaglobulinemia occurred in 17% of all patients with NHL. Monitor immunoglobulin levels after treatment and manage using infection precautions, antibiotic prophylaxis, and immunoglobulin replacement. The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines during or following Yescarta treatment has not been studied. Vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended for at least 6 weeks prior to the start of lymphodepleting chemotherapy, during Yescarta treatment, and until immune recovery following treatment.
SECONDARY MALIGNANCIES may develop. Monitor life-long for secondary malignancies. In the event that one occurs, contact Kite at 1-844-454-KITE (5483) to obtain instructions on patient samples to collect for testing.
EFFECTS ON ABILITY TO DRIVE AND USE MACHINES: Due to the potential for neurologic events, including altered mental status or seizures, patients are at risk for altered or decreased consciousness or coordination in the 8 weeks following Yescarta infusion. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous occupations or activities, such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery, during this initial period.
ADVERSE REACTIONS: The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥20%) in patients with LBCL included CRS, fever, hypotension, encephalopathy, tachycardia, fatigue, headache, decreased appetite, chills, diarrhea, febrile neutropenia, infections with pathogen unspecified, nausea, hypoxia, tremor, cough, vomiting, dizziness, constipation, and cardiac arrhythmias. The most common non-laboratory adverse reactions (incidence ≥20%) in patients with iNHL included fever, CRS, hypotension, encephalopathy, fatigue, headache, infections with pathogen unspecified, tachycardia, febrile neutropenia, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, tremor, chills, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, cough, vomiting, hypoxia, arrhythmia, and dizziness.
Please see full U.S. Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING and Medication Guide.
Kite, a Gilead Company, is a global biopharmaceutical company based in Santa Monica, California, with commercial manufacturing operations in North America and Europe. Kite’s singular focus is cell therapy to treat and potentially cure cancer. As the cell therapy leader, Kite has more approved CAR T indications to help more patients than any other company. For more information on Kite, please visit www.kitepharma.com.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the possibility of unfavorable results from ongoing and additional clinical trials involving Yescarta. These and other risks, uncertainties and other factors are described in detail in Gilead’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Kite and Gilead, and Kite and Gilead assume no obligation and disclaim any intent to update any such forward-looking statements.
Kite, the Kite logo, Yescarta, Tecartus, XLP and GILEAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc. or its related companies.
For more information on Kite, please visit the company’s website at www.kitepharma.com or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000. Follow Kite on social media on Twitter (@KitePharma) and LinkedIn.