- CHMP positive opinion is based on results from three Phase 3 studies: two for induction and one for maintenance 1-3
- Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, immune-mediated inflammatory bowel disease that can lead to substantial burden and often disability among patients 4-6
- If approved by the European Commission (EC), this would be upadacitinib's fifth therapeutic indication in the EU
- The EC decision is anticipated in the third quarter of 2022
ABBVie (NYSE: ABBV) today announced the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) adopted a positive opinion recommending the approval of upadacitinib (RINVOQ ® 45 mg [induction dose] and 15 mg and 30 mg [maintenance dose]) for the treatment of adult patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) who have had an inadequate response, lost response or were intolerant to either conventional therapy or a biologic agent.*
UC is the chronic inflammation of the large intestine, usually beginning in the rectum and lower colon, but may also spread continuously to involve the entire colon, which could lead to a significant burden and disability for patients. 5 Living with UC impacts all aspects of a patient's life, largely due to unpredictable symptoms such as bowel urgency, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and bowel incontinence. 5
"As leaders in the advancement of care for people with inflammatory bowel disease, we are committed to continued research and development of treatment options that go beyond managing symptoms and include endoscopic and histologic outcomes," said Neil Gallagher , M.D., Ph.D., vice president, development, chief medical officer, AbbVie. "With today's CHMP recommendation of upadacitinib in ulcerative colitis, we've taken a giant step forward toward helping more patients achieve their treatment goals."
AbbVie's application for the approval of upadacitinib in UC is supported by data from two induction studies, U-ACHIEVE induction and U-ACCOMPLISH, and one maintenance study, U-ACHIEVE maintenance. 1-3 Across all three Phase 3 studies, significantly more patients treated with upadacitinib achieved the primary endpoint of clinical remission † and all secondary endpoints. This includes statistically significant improvements in these endpoints compared to placebo with 45 mg once daily for the induction studies, and with both 15 mg and 30 mg once-daily doses for the maintenance study. 1-3 Additionally, safety results of upadacitinib in UC were consistent with the known safety profile of upadacitinib in rheumatoid arthritis, with no new important safety risks observed. 1-3, 7-10
"Patients with ulcerative colitis often face numerous complications and risk relapse. Achieving critical endpoints like clinical remission and mucosal healing can make a significant difference in symptom management and health related quality of life," said Silvio Danese , M.D., Ph.D., director of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy at San Raffaele Hospital and professor of gastroenterology at University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy . "Upadacitinib could be a promising option for adult patients who continue to have moderately to severely active disease despite treatment with conventional or biologic therapies and I look forward to the European Commission's final decision on its use in ulcerative colitis."
About the U-ACHIEVE Induction, U-ACCOMPLISH and U-ACHIEVE Maintenance Studies 1-3,11-13
The three Phase 3 studies are multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to evaluate the efficacy and safety of upadacitinib 45 mg once daily as induction therapy, and upadacitinib 15 mg and 30 mg once daily as maintenance therapy in subjects with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. Topline results of the U-ACHIEVE induction study were announced in December 2020 , topline results of the second induction study, U-ACCOMPLISH, were announced in February 2021 , and topline results of the U-ACHIEVE maintenance study were announced in June 2021 . More information can be found on https://www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03006068, NCT03653026, NCT02819635).
About upadacitinib (RINVOQ ® )
Discovered and developed by AbbVie scientists, RINVOQ is a selective and reversible JAK inhibitor that is being studied in several immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. 15-20 In human cellular assays, upadacitinib preferentially inhibits signalling by JAK1 or JAK1/3 with functional selectivity over cytokine receptors that signal via pairs of JAK2. 14
Phase 3 trials of RINVOQ in rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, giant cell arteritis and Takayasu arteritis are ongoing. 13,15-20 The use of upadacitinib in ulcerative colitis is not approved and its safety and efficacy have not been evaluated by regulatory authorities outside of the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
EU Indications and Important Safety Information about RINVOQ ® (upadacitinib) 14
RINVOQ is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients who have responded inadequately to, or who are intolerant to one or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). RINVOQ may be used as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate.
RINVOQ is indicated for the treatment of active psoriatic arthritis in adult patients who have responded inadequately to, or who are intolerant to one or more DMARDs. RINVOQ may be used as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate.
RINVOQ is indicated for the treatment of active ankylosing spondylitis in adult patients who have responded inadequately to conventional therapy.
RINVOQ is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in adults and adolescents 12 years and older who are candidates for systemic therapy.
RINVOQ is contraindicated in patients hypersensitive to the active substance or to any of the excipients, in patients with active tuberculosis (TB) or active serious infections, in patients with severe hepatic impairment, and during pregnancy.
Special warnings and precautions for use
Immunosuppressive medicinal products
Use in combination with other potent immunosuppressants is not recommended.
Serious and sometimes fatal infections have been reported in patients receiving upadacitinib. The most frequent serious infections reported included pneumonia and cellulitis. Cases of bacterial meningitis have been reported. Among opportunistic infections, TB, multidermatomal herpes zoster, oral/esophageal candidiasis, and cryptococcosis have been reported with upadacitinib. As there is a higher incidence of infections in patients ≥65 years of age, caution should be used when treating this population.
Viral reactivation, including cases of herpes zoster, was reported in clinical studies. The risk of herpes zoster appears to be higher in Japanese patients treated with upadacitinib.
The use of live, attenuated vaccines during or immediately prior to therapy is not recommended. It is recommended that patients be brought up to date with all immunizations, including prophylactic zoster vaccinations, prior to initiating upadacitinib, in agreement with current immunization guidelines.
The risk of malignancies, including lymphoma is increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Malignancies, including nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC), have been reported in patients treated with upadacitinib. Consider the risks and benefits of upadacitinib treatment prior to initiating therapy in patients with a known malignancy other than a successfully treated NMSC or when considering continuing upadacitinib therapy in patients who develop a malignancy.
Treatment should not be initiated, or should be temporarily interrupted, in patients with hematological abnormalities observed during routine patient management.
Upadacitinib should be used with caution in patients with diverticular disease and especially in patients chronically treated with concomitant medications associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis.
RA patients have an increased risk for cardiovascular disorders. Patients treated with upadacitinib should have risk factors (e.g., hypertension, hyperlipidemia) managed as part of usual standard of care.
Upadacitinib treatment was associated with dose-dependent increases in lipid parameters, including total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Hepatic transaminase elevations
Treatment with upadacitinib was associated with an increased incidence of liver enzyme elevation compared to placebo.
Events of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) have been reported in patients receiving JAK inhibitors, including upadacitinib. Upadacitinib should be used with caution in patients at high risk for DVT/PE.
The most commonly reported adverse reactions in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis clinical trials (≥2% of patients in at least one of the indications) with upadacitinib 15 mg were upper respiratory tract infections, blood creatine phosphokinase (CPK) increased, alanine transaminase (ALT) increased, bronchitis, nausea, cough, aspartate transaminase (AST) increased, and hypercholesterolemia.
The most commonly reported adverse reactions in atopic dermatitis trials (≥2% of patients) with upadacitinib 15 mg or 30 mg were upper respiratory tract infection, acne, herpes simplex, headache, CPK increased, cough, folliculitis, abdominal pain, nausea, neutropenia, pyrexia, and influenza.
The most common serious adverse reactions were serious infections.
The safety profile of upadacitinib with long term treatment was generally similar to the safety profile during the placebo-controlled period across indications.
Overall, the safety profile observed in patients with psoriatic arthritis or active ankylosing spondylitis treated with upadacitinib 15 mg was consistent with the safety profile observed in patients with RA.
In atopic dermatitis, dose-dependent increased risks of infection and herpes zoster were observed with upadacitinib. Based on limited data, there was a higher rate of overall adverse reactions with the upadacitinib 30 mg dose compared to the 15 mg dose in patients aged 65 years and older. The safety profile for upadacitinib 15 mg in adolescents was similar to that in adults. The safety and efficacy of the 30 mg dose in adolescents are still being investigated. Dose-dependent changes in ALT increased and/or AST increased (≥ 3 x ULN), lipid parameters, CPK values (> 5 x ULN), and neutropenia (ANC 9 cells/L) associated with upadacitinib treatment were similar to what was observed in the rheumatologic disease clinical studies.
This is not a complete summary of all safety information.
See RINVOQ full summary of product characteristics (SmPC) at www.ema.europa.eu .
Globally, prescribing information varies; refer to the individual country product label for complete information.
About AbbVie in Gastroenterology
With a robust clinical trial program, AbbVie is committed to cutting-edge research to drive exciting developments in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. By innovating, learning and adapting, AbbVie aspires to eliminate the burden of IBD and make a positive long-term impact on the lives of people with IBD. For more information on AbbVie in gastroenterology, visit https://www.abbvie.com/our-science/therapeutic-focus-areas/immunology/immunology-focus-areas/gastroenterology.html .
AbbVie's mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people's lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women's health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across our Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com . Follow @abbvie on Twitter , Facebook , LinkedIn or Instagram .
Some statements in this news release are, or may be considered, forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project" and similar expressions, among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. AbbVie cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, failure to realize the expected benefits from AbbVie's acquisition of Allergan plc ("Allergan"), failure to promptly and effectively integrate Allergan's businesses, competition from other products, challenges to intellectual property, difficulties inherent in the research and development process, adverse litigation or government action, changes to laws and regulations applicable to our industry and the impact of public health outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics, such as COVID-19. Additional information about the economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect AbbVie's operations is set forth in Item 1A, "Risk Factors," of AbbVie's 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as updated by its subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. AbbVie undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.
- Vermeire, S., et al. OP23 Efficacy and safety of upadacitinib as induction therapy in patients with Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis: Results from phase 3 U-ACCOMPLISH study, Journal of Crohn's and Colitis, Volume 15, Issue Supplement 1 . May 2021 .
- Danese, S., et al. OP24 Efficacy and safety of upadacitinib induction therapy in patients with Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis: Results from the phase 3 U-ACHIEVE study, Journal of Crohn's and Colitis, Volume 15, Issue Supplement 1. May 2021 .
- Danese, S., et al. OP08 The effects of maintenance therapy with upadacitinib on abdominal pain, bowel urgency, and fatigue in patients with moderately to severely active Ulcerative Colitis: Phase 3 U-ACHIEVE maintenance results, Journal of Crohn's and Colitis , Volume 16, Issue Supplement 1. January 2022 .
- Gajendran M., et al. A comprehensive review and update on ulcerative colitis. Dis Mon. 2019 Dec;65(12):100851. doi: 10.1016/j.disamonth.2019.02.004. Epub 2019 Mar 2 .
- The Facts about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. 2014. Available at: https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/sites/default/files/2019-02/Updated%20IBD%20Factbook.pdf . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- Mehta F. Report: economic implications of inflammatory bowel disease and its management. Am J Manag Care. 2016 Mar;22(3 Suppl):s51-60.
- Cohen S., et al. Safety profile of upadacitinib in rheumatoid arthritis: integrated analysis from the SELECT phase III clinical programme. Ann Rheum Dis. 2020 Oct 28;80(3):304-11.
- Mease, P.J., et al. Upadacitinib in Patients with Psoriatic Arthritis and Inadequate Response to Biologics: 56-Week Data from the Randomized Controlled Phase 3 SELECT-PsA 2 Study. Rheumatol Ther. 2021 Apr 28. doi: 10.1007/s40744-021-00305-z. Online ahead of print.
- Guttman-Yassky E ., et al. Once-daily upadacitinib versus placebo in adolescents and adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (Measure Up 1 and Measure Up 2): results from two replicate, double-blind, randomized controlled phase 3 studies. Lancet. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(21)00588-2.
- Van der Heijde D ., et al. Efficacy and Safety of Upadacitinib in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Phase 2/3 Clinical Study of Patients With Active Ankylosing Spondylitis. 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting; 2728.
- A Study to Evaluate the Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Upadacitinib (ABT-494) in Participants With Ulcerative Colitis (UC). ClinicalTrials.gov. 2021. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03006068 . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- A Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Upadacitinib (ABT-494) in Participants With Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis (U-Accomplish). ClinicalTrials.gov 2021. Available at: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03653026 . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- A Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Upadacitinib (ABT-494) for Induction and Maintenance Therapy in Participants With Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis (UC). ClinicalTrials.gov 2021. Available at: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02819635 . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- RINVOQ [Summary of Product Characteristics]. AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG; September 2021 . Available at: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/product-information/rinvoq-epar-product-information_en.pdf.
- Pipeline – Our Science | AbbVie. AbbVie. 2021. Available at: https://www.abbvie.com/our-science/pipeline.html . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- A Study to Compare Safety and Efficacy of Upadacitinib to Dupilumab in Adult Participants With Moderate to Severe Atopic Dermatitis (Heads Up). ClinicalTrials.gov. 2021. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03738397 . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- A Study to Evaluate Efficacy and Safety of Upadacitinib in Adult Participants With Axial Spondyloarthritis (SELECT AXIS 2). ClinicalTrials.gov. 2021. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04169373 . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of ABT-494 for the Induction of Symptomatic and Endoscopic Remission in Subjects With Moderately to Severely Active Crohn's Disease Who Have Inadequately Responded to or Are Intolerant to Immunomodulators or Anti-TNF Therapy. ClinicalTrials.gov. 2021. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02365649 . Accessed on Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- A Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Upadacitinib in Participants With Giant Cell Arteritis (SELECT-GCA). ClinicalTrials.gov. 2021. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03725202 . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
- A Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Upadacitinib in Subjects With Takayasu Arteritis (TAK) (SELECT-TAK). ClinicalTrials.gov. 2021. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04161898 . Accessed on March 29, 2022 .
* This recommendation is without prejudice to the final conclusions of the ongoing referral procedure under Article 20 of Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 resulting from pharmacovigilance data.
† per Adapted Mayo Score
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