Amgen's Investigational Targeted Treatment Bemarituzumab Granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation
Potential First-in-Class Therapy for a Subset of Gastric and Gastroesophageal Cancers That Overexpress Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 2 (FGFR2b)
Designation is Supported by Results From the Phase 2 FIGHT Trial
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., April 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for investigational bemarituzumab as first-line treatment for patients with fibroblast growth factor receptor 2b (FGFR2b) overexpressing and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic and locally advanced gastric and gastroesophageal (GEJ) adenocarcinoma in combination with modified FOLFOX6 (fluoropyrimidine, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin), based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic assay showing at least 10% of tumor cells overexpressing FGFR2b.
"The FIGHT trial is the first study to evaluate targeting the overexpression of FGFR2b in cancer. Bemarituzumab demonstrated clinically meaningful outcomes in key endpoints for patients with advanced gastric or gastroesophageal cancer as a frontline therapy," said David M. Reese, M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. "Amgen looks forward to further investigating the role of FGFR2b and will continue to work with regulatory agencies on next steps to bring this potential first-in-class, frontline therapy to patients."
More than one million new gastric cancer cases are diagnosed annually, and gastric cancer is particularly prevalent in Asia.1,2 Approximately 80 to 85% of patients with advanced gastric and GEJ cancers are HER2-negative, and approximately 30% of these patients present with FGFR2b overexpression.3,4
Following sotorasib, bemarituzumab is the second asset in Amgen's oncology portfolio to receive Breakthrough Therapy Designation in the past six months. A Breakthrough Therapy Designation is designed to expedite the development and regulatory review of medicines that may demonstrate substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint over available medicines.5
The FIGHT trial evaluated bemarituzumab plus chemotherapy (mFOLFOX6) versus chemotherapy alone in patients with FGFR2b+, non-HER2 positive frontline advanced gastric or GEJ cancer. In the study, treatment with bemarituzumab plus chemotherapy demonstrated clinically significant and substantial improvements in the primary endpoint of progression-free survival (PFS) and secondary endpoint of overall survival (OS) in the patient population in which at least 10% of tumor cells overexpressed FGFR2b. Additional analysis showed a positive correlation between benefit and the prevalence of FGFR2b+ tumor cells, affirming both the importance of the FGFR2b target and the activity of bemarituzumab against this target. The Breakthrough Therapy Designation was granted based upon this subset of patients who showed at least 10% of tumor cells overexpressing FGFR2b.
Amgen acquired Five Prime Therapeutics on April 16, 2021. In addition to bemarituzumab, Five Prime's pipeline complements Amgen's efforts to bring innovative therapies to oncology patients.
Bemarituzumab (anti-FGFR2b) is a potential first-in-class investigational targeted antibody that is designed to block fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) from binding and activating FGFR2b, inhibiting several downstream pro-tumor signaling pathways and potentially slowing cancer progression. Bemarituzumab is being developed in gastric and GEJ cancer as a targeted therapy for tumors that overexpress FGFR2b. The company is also evaluating the potential for bemarituzumab in other cancers that overexpress FGFR2b.
Zai Lab (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. was granted an exclusive license to develop and commercialize bemarituzumab in Greater China, and Zai Lab collaborated with Five Prime on the Phase 2 FIGHT trial in Greater China.
About Amgen Oncology
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No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from those we project. Discovery or identification of new product candidates or development of new indications for existing products cannot be guaranteed and movement from concept to product is uncertain; consequently, there can be no guarantee that any particular product candidate or development of a new indication for an existing product will be successful and become a commercial product. Further, preclinical results do not guarantee safe and effective performance of product candidates in humans. The complexity of the human body cannot be perfectly, or sometimes, even adequately modeled by computer or cell culture systems or animal models. The length of time that it takes for us to complete clinical trials and obtain regulatory approval for product marketing has in the past varied and we expect similar variability in the future. Even when clinical trials are successful, regulatory authorities may question the sufficiency for approval of the trial endpoints we have selected. We develop product candidates internally and through licensing collaborations, partnerships and joint ventures. Product candidates that are derived from relationships may be subject to disputes between the parties or may prove to be not as effective or as safe as we may have believed at the time of entering into such relationship. Also, we or others could identify safety, side effects or manufacturing problems with our products, including our devices, after they are on the market. There can be no guarantee that we will be able to realize any of the potential strategic benefits, synergies or opportunities as a result of the Five Prime acquisition. Nor can there be any guarantee that bemarituzumab will be submitted or approved for sale in any market, or at any particular time. Neither can there be any guarantee that such product will be successfully commercialized even if regulatory approvals are obtained. In particular, our expectations could be affected by, among other things: potential regulatory actions or delays with respect to the development of bemarituzumab; the potential that the strategic benefits, synergies or opportunities expected from the acquisition may not be realized or may take longer to realize than expected; and the successful integration of Five Prime into Amgen subsequent to the closing of the transaction and the timing of such integration.
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2 Rawla P, et al. Prz Gastroenterol. 2019;14(1):26-38. doi:10.5114/pg.2018.80001.
3 Shitara K et al. NEJM. 2020; 382;25: 2419-30.
4 Wainberg ZA, et al. Presented at: ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium; January 15-16, 2021; Online Virtual Scientific Program (Abstract LBA160 and oral presentation).
5 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Breakthrough Therapy. https://www.fda.gov/patients/fast-track-breakthrough-therapy-accelerated-approval-priority-review/breakthrough-therapy. Accessed April 15, 2021.