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FDA Updates

On January 23, 2020, the FDA granted accelerated approval to tazemetostat (Tazverik; Epizyme), a methyltransferase inhibitor, for the treatment of metastatic or locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma in adults and pediatric patients aged ≥16 years who are not eligible for complete resection.
The FDA approval of avapritinib marks the first time a drug has been approved specifically for patients with GIST harboring PDGFRA exon 18 mutations, which are involved in approximately 10% of GIST cases.
The FDA has confirmed another strong year regarding the approval of innovative new drugs and biosimilars, including several agents used in the treatment of patients with cancer.
  • Brukinsa Receives Accelerated FDA Approval for Mantle-Cell Lymphoma
  • Ziextenzo Third Biosimilar to Neulasta Approved for Febrile Neutropenia
  • Tecentriq Approved with Chemotherapy for First-Line Treatment of Metastatic NSCLC without EGFR or ALK Mutations
  • FDA Approves Calquence for Adults with CLL or SL
  • Zejula Receives FDA Approval for HRD-Positive Advanced Ovarian Cancer
On December 3, 2019, the FDA granted Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation to the biopharmaceutical company Adaptimmune Therapeutics for ADP-A2M4 for the treatment of synovial sarcoma. Earlier this year, the FDA granted Orphan Drug designation to the agent for the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas.
The FDA has granted priority review to Merck’s supplemental Biologics License Application for the anti-PD–1 agent pembrolizumab as monotherapy for certain patients with high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.
On August 16, 2019, the FDA approved fedratinib (Inrebic; Celgene/Impact Biomedicines), an oral kinase inhibitor, for adults with intermediate-2 or high-risk primary or secondary—post–polycythemia vera (PV) or post–essential thrombocythemia (ET)—myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow disorder. The FDA granted fedratinib priority review and an orphan drug designation.
On September 17, 2019, the FDA approved a new indication for apalu­tamide (Erleada; Janssen Biotech) for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC). Apalutamide was initially approved in 2018 for the treatment of nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The FDA granted apalutamide priority review for the new indication.
On September 17, 2019, the FDA accelerated the approval of a new combination of pembrolizumab (Keytruda; Merck) plus lenvatinib (Lenvima; Eisai) for patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not associated with microsatellite instability high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair–deficient (dMMR) tumors in patients whose disease progressed after systemic therapy and who are candidates for curative surgery or radiation. The FDA granted this application priority review and a breakthrough therapy designation.

On November 15, 2019, the FDA approved crizanlizumab (Adakveo; Novartis) to reduce the frequency of vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs) in adults and pediatric patients aged ≥16 years with sickle-cell disease.

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