AstraZeneca advances ambition to redefine care for blood cancer at ASH 2021

CALQUENCE shows durable efficacy and favorable tolerability vs. standards 
of care across multiple analyses in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

New CALQUENCE tablet formulation will potentially expand eligible patient 
population with comparable efficacy and safety to current capsules

Emerging pipeline will also demonstrate promise of inducing deeper patient
responses using novel combinations for hard-to-treat blood cancers

AstraZeneca will present new data underscoring its commitment to transforming hematologic cancer care at the 63rd American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition, December 11 to 14, 2021.

More than 25 abstracts will feature data across the Company’s hematology portfolio and pipeline, including new analyses from the CALQUENCE® (acalabrutinib) Phase III program such as an oral presentation of three-year follow-up data from the ASCEND Phase III trial in relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Overall, data will span over 10 types of blood cancers and related conditions with a focus on CLL, mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and acute myeloid leukemia.

Dave Fredrickson, Executive Vice President, Oncology Business Unit, AstraZeneca, said: “Our robust CALQUENCE data at ASH will include an important new formulation designed to expand the pool of patients who may benefit from CALQUENCE. Moreover, data from three Phase III trials will show the sustained efficacy and safety of CALQUENCE, which is central to our commitment to prioritize the patient experience while providing long-term control of the disease in those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.”

Anas Younes, Senior Vice President, Haematology R&D, AstraZeneca, said: “Testing new ways of overcoming drug resistance and continually pushing for better and deeper responses for patients are core focus areas of our early hematology portfolio. The preclinical data we are presenting at this year’s ASH meeting for capivasertib and AZD4573 add to the emerging body of evidence showing the potential for new approaches to become the cornerstones of tomorrow’s combination therapies for hard-to-treat blood cancers.”

AstraZeneca’s commitment to putting CLL patients first

  • A risk-benefit analysis showing quality-adjusted time without symptoms or toxicity (Q-TWiST) from the ELEVATE-RR and ASCEND trials in relapsed or refractory CLL will report the difference between CALQUENCE and either ibrutinib or the combination of rituximab with idelalisib or bendamustine, balancing risk (toxicity) and benefit (prolonged survival without symptoms of progression or adverse events)
  • Data introducing a maleate tablet formulation of CALQUENCE will establish bioequivalence to the current capsule and would enable co-administration with proton pump inhibitors or via nasogastric tube for patients with swallowing challenges, offering an opportunity to provide CALQUENCE to patients for whom it was previously not an option

Further analyses from CALQUENCE Phase III trial program reinforce long-term safety and efficacy for patients with CLL

  • An oral presentation will show durable efficacy for CALQUENCE over three years in relapsed or refractory CLL from the ASCEND trial, evaluating the treatment versus investigator’s choice of rituximab combined with either idelalisib or bendamustine
  • A sub-analysis from the head-to-head ELEVATE-RR trial for CALQUENCE versus ibrutinib in relapsed or refractory CLL will further characterize adverse events related to Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibition
  • A matching-adjusted indirect comparison using data from the ELEVATE-TN trial will compare the safety profile of CALQUENCE alone or in combination with obinutuzumab to either ibrutinib monotherapy or venetoclax in combination with obinutuzumab

Emerging pipeline molecules show therapeutic potential in novel combinations

  • Preclinical data will be presented showing that capivasertib (AZD5363), an AKT inhibitor being evaluated in a number of solid and hematological tumors, showed significant activity in murine DLBCL models when combined with venetoclax. This data continues to broaden our understanding of the role of AKT inhibitors in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). Capivasertib monotherapy is being explored in sub-sets of relapsed or refractory B-cell NHL in the CAPITAL Phase II trial
  • Additionally, new data will demonstrate AZD4573, a highly selective and potent cyclin dependent kinase 9 inhibitor from AstraZeneca’s cell death portfolio, effectively induces apoptosis in vivo in relapsed or refractory MCL xenograft models both alone and when combined with CALQUENCE

Key AstraZeneca presentations during the 63rd ASH Annual Meetingi

Lead Author

Abstract title

Presentation details

CALQUENCE (acalabrutinib)

 

Jurczak, W

Three-Year Follow-Up of the ASCEND Trial Investigating Acalabrutinib vs Rituximab plus Idelalisib or Bendamustine in Relapsed/Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Abstract # 393
Oral Session: 642. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Clinical and Epidemiological I
12 December 2021
10:00 ET
Location: Room B401-B402

Seymour, JF

Characterization of Bruton Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (BTKi)-Related Adverse Events in a Head-to-Head Trial of Acalabrutinib Versus Ibrutinib in Previously Treated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Abstract # 3721
Poster Session: 642. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Clinical and Epidemiological: Poster III
13 December 2021
18:00-20:00 ET
Location: Hall B5

Sharma, S

New Acalabrutinib Formulation Enables Co-administration with Proton Pump Inhibitors and Dosing in Patients Unable to Swallow Capsules (ELEVATE-PLUS)

Abstract # 4365
Online only

Davids, MS

MAJIC: A Phase 3 Prospective, Multicenter, Randomized, Open-Label Trial of Acalabrutinib plus Venetoclax versus Venetoclax plus Obinutuzumab in Previously Untreated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma

Abstract # 1553
Poster Session: 642. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Clinical and Epidemiological: Poster I
11 December 2021
17:30-19:30 ET
Location: Room B5

Davids, MS

Matching-Adjusted Indirect Treatment Comparison (MAIC) of Acalabrutinib Alone or in Combination With Obinutuzumab Versus Ibrutinib or Venetoclax Plus Obinutuzumab in Patients With Treatment-naïve Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Abstract # 2633
Poster Session: 642. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Clinical and Epidemiological: Poster II
12 December 2021
18:00-20:00 ET
Location: Room B5

Seymour, JF

A Quality-Adjusted Survival (Q-TWiST) Analysis to Assess Benefit-Risk of Acalabrutinib Versus Idelalisib/Bendamustine Plus Rituximab or Ibrutinib Among Relapsed/Refractory (R/R) Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Patients

Abstract # 3722
Poster Session: 642. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Clinical and Epidemiological: Poster III
13 December 2021
18:00-20:00 ET
Location: Room B5

Roschewski, M

Phase 2 Study of Acalabrutinib Window Prior to Frontline Therapy in Untreated Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma: Preliminary Results and Correlatives of Response to Acalabrutinib

Abstract # 524
Oral Session: 626. Aggressive Lymphomas Prospective Therapeutic Trials: Novel Agents and Combinations
12 December 2021
16:45 ET
Location: Thomas Murphy Ballroom 1-2

Capivasertib (AZD5363)

 

Willis, B

Combination benefit of capivasertib and venetoclax in preclinical models of Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma

Abstract # 802
Poster Session: 802. Chemical Biology and Experimental Therapeutics: Poster I
11 December 2021
17:30-19:30 ET
Location: Room B5

AZD4573

 

Roderick, J

AZD4573 effectively induces apoptosis in r/r MCL as a monotherapy or in combination with acalabrutinib

Abstract # 605
Poster Session: 605. Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Resistance: Lymphoid Neoplasms: Poster II
12 December 202118:00-20:00 ET
Location: Room B5

i28 company-sponsored or supported abstracts will be presented at ASH 2021.

INDICATION AND USAGE

CALQUENCE is a Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor indicated for the treatment of adult patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) who have received at least one prior therapy.

This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

CALQUENCE is also indicated for the treatment of adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT CALQUENCE® (acalabrutinib) capsules

Serious and Opportunistic Infections

Fatal and serious infections, including opportunistic infections, have occurred in patients with hematologic malignancies treated with CALQUENCE.

Serious or Grade 3 or higher infections (bacterial, viral, or fungal) occurred in 19% of 1029 patients exposed to CALQUENCE in clinical trials, most often due to respiratory tract infections (11% of all patients, including pneumonia in 6%). These infections predominantly occurred in the absence of Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia, with neutropenic infection reported in 1.9% of all patients. Opportunistic infections in recipients of CALQUENCE have included, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus reactivation, fungal pneumonia, Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia, Epstein-Barr virus reactivation, cytomegalovirus, and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Consider prophylaxis in patients who are at increased risk for opportunistic infections. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection and treat promptly.

Hemorrhage

Fatal and serious hemorrhagic events have occurred in patients with hematologic malignancies treated with CALQUENCE. Major hemorrhage (serious or Grade 3 or higher bleeding or any central nervous system bleeding) occurred in 3.0% of patients, with fatal hemorrhage occurring in 0.1% of 1029 patients exposed to CALQUENCE in clinical trials. Bleeding events of any grade, excluding bruising and petechiae, occurred in 22% of patients.

Use of antithrombotic agents concomitantly with CALQUENCE may further increase the risk of hemorrhage. In clinical trials, major hemorrhage occurred in 2.7% of patients taking CALQUENCE without antithrombotic agents and 3.6% of patients taking CALQUENCE with antithrombotic agents. Consider the risks and benefits of antithrombotic agents when co-administered with CALQUENCE. Monitor patients for signs of bleeding.

Consider the benefit-risk of withholding CALQUENCE for 3-7 days pre- and post-surgery depending upon the type of surgery and the risk of bleeding.

Cytopenias

Grade 3 or 4 cytopenias, including neutropenia (23%), anemia (8%), thrombocytopenia (7%), and lymphopenia (7%), developed in patients with hematologic malignancies treated with CALQUENCE. Grade 4 neutropenia developed in 12% of patients. Monitor complete blood counts regularly during treatment. Interrupt treatment, reduce the dose, or discontinue treatment as warranted.

Second Primary Malignancies

Second primary malignancies, including skin cancers and other solid tumors, occurred in 12% of 1029 patients exposed to CALQUENCE in clinical trials. The most frequent second primary malignancy was skin cancer, reported in 6% of patients. Monitor patients for skin cancers and advise protection from sun exposure.

Atrial Fibrillation and Flutter

Grade 3 atrial fibrillation or flutter occurred in 1.1% of 1029 patients treated with CALQUENCE, with all grades of atrial fibrillation or flutter reported in 4.1% of all patients. The risk may be increased in patients with cardiac risk factors, hypertension, previous arrhythmias, and acute infection. Monitor for symptoms of arrhythmia (e.g., palpitations, dizziness, syncope, dyspnea) and manage as appropriate.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

The most common adverse reactions (≥ 20%) of any grade in patients with relapsed or refractory MCL were anemia,* thrombocytopenia,* headache (39%), neutropenia,* diarrhea (31%), fatigue (28%), myalgia (21%), and bruising (21%). The most common Grade ≥ 3 non-hematological adverse reaction (reported in at least 2% of patients) was diarrhea (3.2%).

*Treatment-emergent decreases (all grades) of hemoglobin (46%), platelets (44%), and neutrophils (36%) were based on laboratory measurements and adverse reactions.

Dose reductions or discontinuations due to any adverse reaction were reported in 1.6% and 6.5% of patients, respectively. Increases in creatinine 1.5 to 3 times the upper limit of normal occurred in 4.8% of patients.

The most common adverse reactions (≥ 30%) of any grade in patients with CLL were anemia,* neutropenia,* thrombocytopenia,* headache, upper respiratory tract infection, and diarrhea.

*Treatment-emergent decreases (all grades) of hemoglobin, platelets, and neutrophils were based on laboratory measurements and adverse reactions.

In patients with previously untreated CLL exposed to CALQUENCE, fatal adverse reactions that occurred in the absence of disease progression and with onset within 30 days of the last study treatment were reported in 2% for each treatment arm, most often from infection. Serious adverse reactions were reported in 39% of patients in the CALQUENCE plus obinutuzumab arm and 32% in the CALQUENCE monotherapy arm, most often due to events of pneumonia (7% and 2.8%, respectively).

Adverse reactions led to CALQUENCE dose reduction in 7% and 4% of patients in the CALQUENCE plus obinutuzumab arm (N=178) and CALQUENCE monotherapy arm (N=179), respectively. Adverse events led to discontinuation in 11% and 10% of patients, respectively. Increases in creatinine 1.5 to 3 times the upper limit of normal occurred in 3.9% and 2.8% of patients in the CALQUENCE combination arm and monotherapy arm, respectively.

In patients with relapsed/refractory CLL exposed to CALQUENCE, serious adverse reactions occurred in 29% of patients. Serious adverse reactions in > 5% of patients who received CALQUENCE included lower respiratory tract infection (6%). Fatal adverse reactions within 30 days of the last dose of CALQUENCE occurred in 2.6% of patients, including from second primary malignancies and infection.

Adverse reactions led to CALQUENCE dose reduction in 3.9% of patients (N=154), dose interruptions in 34% of patients, most often due to respiratory tract infections followed by neutropenia, and discontinuation in 10% of patients, most frequently due to second primary malignancies followed by infection. Increases in creatinine 1.5 to 3 times the upper limit of normal occurred in 1.3% of patients who received CALQUENCE.

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Strong CYP3A Inhibitors: Avoid co-administration with a strong CYP3A inhibitor. If a strong CYP3A inhibitor will be used short-term, interrupt CALQUENCE.

Moderate CYP3A Inhibitors: When CALQUENCE is co-administered with a moderate CYP3A inhibitor, reduce CALQUENCE dose to 100 mg once daily.

Strong CYP3A Inducers: Avoid co-administration with a strong CYP3A inducer. If a strong CYP3A inducer cannot be avoided, increase the CALQUENCE dose to 200 mg approximately every 12 hours.

Gastric Acid Reducing Agents: If treatment with a gastric acid reducing agent is required, consider using an H2-receptor antagonist or an antacid. Take CALQUENCE 2 hours before taking an H2-receptor antagonist. Separate dosing with an antacid by at least 2 hours.

Avoid co-administration with proton pump inhibitors. Due to the long-lasting effect of proton pump inhibitors, separation of doses may not eliminate the interaction with CALQUENCE.

SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Based on findings in animals, CALQUENCE may cause fetal harm and dystocia when administered to a pregnant woman. There are no available data in pregnant women to inform the drug-associated risk. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus.

Pregnancy testing is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to initiating CALQUENCE therapy. Advise female patients of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with CALQUENCE and for at least 1 week following the last dose of CALQUENCE.

It is not known if CALQUENCE is present in human milk. Advise lactating women not to breastfeed while taking CALQUENCE and for at least 2 weeks after the final dose.

Avoid administration of CALQUENCE in patients with severe hepatic impairment. Dose modifications are not required for patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information.

CALQUENCE
CALQUENCE (acalabrutinib) is a next-generation, selective inhibitor of BTK. It binds covalently to BTK, thereby inhibiting its activity.1,2 In B-cells, BTK signaling results in activation of pathways necessary for B-cell proliferation, trafficking, chemotaxis, and adhesion.1

CALQUENCE is approved for the treatment of CLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) in the US, approved for CLL in the EU and several other countries worldwide, and approved in Japan for relapsed or refractory CLL and SLL. A Phase I trial is currently underway in Japan for the treatment of front-line CLL.

In the US and several other countries, CALQUENCE is also approved for the treatment of adult patients with MCL who have received at least one prior therapy. The US MCL indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. CALQUENCE is not currently approved for the treatment of MCL in Europe or Japan.

As part of an extensive clinical development program, AstraZeneca and Acerta Pharma are currently evaluating CALQUENCE in more than 20 company-sponsored clinical trials. CALQUENCE is being evaluated for the treatment of multiple B-cell blood cancers including CLL, MCL, DLBCL, Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, follicular lymphoma and other hematologic malignancies.

AstraZeneca in hematology
AstraZeneca is pushing the boundaries of science to redefine care in hematology. Applying our deep understanding of blood cancers and leveraging our strength in solid tumor oncology, we are driving the development of novel therapies designed to target underlying drivers of disease across six scientific platforms.

By addressing blood cancers with high unmet medical needs, our aim is to deliver innovative medicines and approaches to healthcare services that have a meaningful impact on patients and caregivers, transforming the hematologic cancer care experience.

AstraZeneca in oncology
AstraZeneca is leading a revolution in oncology with the ambition to provide cures for cancer in every form, following the science to understand cancer and all its complexities to discover, develop and deliver life-changing medicines to patients.

The Company’s focus is on some of the most challenging cancers. It is through persistent innovation that AstraZeneca has built one of the most diverse portfolios and pipelines in the industry, with the potential to catalyze changes in the practice of medicine and transform the patient experience.

AstraZeneca has the vision to redefine cancer care and, one day, eliminate cancer as a cause of death.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries, and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit www.astrazeneca-us.com and follow us on Twitter @AstraZenecaUS.

 

Media Inquiries

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+1 302 885 2677

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US Media Mailbox: usmediateam@astrazeneca.com           

References

1. CALQUENCE [prescribing information]. Wilmington, DE: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; 2019.

2. Wu J, Zhang M and Liu D. Acalabrutinib (ACP-196): a selective second-generation BTK inhibitor. J Hematol Oncol. 2016;9(21).

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