EMA Recommends Novartis’ Blood Cancer Drug
The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) adopted a positive opinion to recommend Jakavi (ruxolitinib), a drug by Novartis to treat a form of blood cancer, for approval in the European Union (EU). The drug was recommended for treating adult patients with polycythemia vera (PV) who are resistant to or intolerant of hydroxyurea. PV is a chronic, incurable blood cancer associated with an overproduction of blood cells that can cause serious cardiovascular complications, such as stroke and heart attack.
In the EU, the European Commission generally follows the recommendations of the CHMP and delivers its final decision within three months of the CHMP recommendation. The decision will be applicable to all 28 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Global regulatory applications for ruxolitinib in PV are currently ongoing, and further regulatory filings are under review by health authorities. Ruxolitinib, which is marketed in the US by Incyte Corporation as Jakafi, received approval in December 2014 from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with PV who have had an inadequate response to or are intolerant of hydroxyurea.
Jakavi is an oral inhibitor of the JAK 1 and JAK 2 tyrosine kinases and was approved by the European Commission in August 2012 for the treatment of disease-related splenomegaly or symptoms in adult patients with primary myelofibrosis (also known as chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis), post-polycythemia vera myelofibrosis or post-essential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis. Jakavi is approved in more than 70 countries for patients with myelofibrosis, including the European Union, Canada, Japan and some countries in Asia, Latin and South America. Additional worldwide regulatory filings are underway in myelofibrosis and PV.
Novartis licensed ruxolitinib from Incyte Corporation for development and commercialization outside the United States. Both the European Commission and the FDA granted ruxolitinib orphan drug designation for myelofibrosis. Jakavi is marketed in the United States by Incyte Corporation under the name Jakafi for the treatment of patients with intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis. Jakafi was also recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with polycythemia vera who have had an inadequate response to or are intolerant of hydroxyurea.