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U.S. FDA Approves Kite’s Tecartus™

Kite, a Gilead Company today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted accelerated approval to Tecartus™ (brexucabtagene autoleucel, formerly KTE-X19), the first and only approved chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

The approval of this one-time therapy follows a priority review and FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation and is based on results of ZUMA-2, a single-arm, open-label study in which 87 percent of patients responded to a single infusion of Tecartus, including 62 percent of patients achieving a complete response (CR). Among patients evaluable for safety, 18 percent experienced Grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and 37 percent experienced Grade 3 or higher neurologic toxicities.

“Despite promising advances, there are still major gaps in treatment for patients with MCL who progress following initial therapy,” said Michael Wang, MD, ZUMA-2 Lead Investigator and Professor, Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Many patients have high-risk disease and are more likely to keep progressing, even after subsequent treatments. The availability of Tecartus as the first-ever cell therapy for patients with relapsed/refractory MCL provides an important option with a response rate of nearly 90 percent and early clinical evidence suggesting durable remissions in later lines of therapy.”

“Kite is committed to bringing the promise of CAR T therapy to patients with hematological cancers, and as such, we are proud to launch our second cell therapy,” said Christi Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Kite. “I extend my thanks to the patient study participants, caregivers, clinical researchers, regulators and dedicated colleagues at Kite who helped make this approval possible, and we look forward to partnering with the lymphoma community to deliver this potentially transformative therapy to patients with relapsed or refractory MCL.”

Tecartus has a Boxed Warning in its product label regarding the risks of CRS and neurologic toxicities. A Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) has been approved by the FDA for Tecartus and has been combined with the Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel) REMS. The REMS program will inform and educate healthcare professionals about the risks associated with Tecartus therapy, and training and certification on the REMS program will be an integral part of the final authorization for centers offering Tecartus. Additional information about the REMS program can be found here. Please see below for Important Safety Information.

MCL is a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that arises from cells originating in the “mantle zone” of the lymph node and predominantly affects men over the age of 60. MCL is highly aggressive following relapse, with many patients progressing following therapy.

“This approval marks the first CAR T cell therapy approved for mantle cell lymphoma patients and represents a new frontier in the treatment of this disease,” said Meghan Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer at the Lymphoma Research Foundation. “In the past decade, researchers have made significant progress in our understanding of this disease and we have seen an increase in clinical trials for patients, which we hope will continue to improve treatment strategies and the options available to people with mantle cell lymphoma. Today’s news builds upon this progress and provides hope to mantle cell patients and their loved ones.”

Tecartus will be manufactured in Kite’s commercial manufacturing facility in El Segundo, California. In the ZUMA-2 trial, Kite demonstrated a 96 percent manufacturing success rate and a median manufacturing turnaround time of 15 days from leukapheresis to product delivery. Manufacturing speed is especially critical for patients with advanced disease, who are very ill and at risk for quick progression.

Patients whose healthcare professionals have prescribed Tecartus therapy can work with Kite Konnect®, an integrated technology platform that provides information and assistance throughout the therapy process for Kite’s commercialized CAR T therapies, including courier tracking for shipments and manufacturing status updates. Kite Konnect provides support for eligible patients receiving Yescarta and Tecartus, and it provides information for the healthcare teams supporting their patients. Healthcare providers and patients can reach Kite Konnect here or 1-844-454-KITE (1-844-454-5483).

KTE-X19 is currently under review in the European Union and has been granted Priority Medicines (PRIME) designation by the European Medicines Agency for relapsed or refractory MCL.

*BOXED WARNING: CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME and NEUROLOGIC TOXICITIES

  • Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), including life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving Tecartus. Do not administer Tecartus to patients with active infection or inflammatory disorders. Treat severe or life-threatening CRS with tocilizumab or tocilizumab and corticosteroids.
  • Neurologic toxicities, including life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving Tecartus, including concurrently with CRS or after CRS resolution. Monitor for neurologic toxicities after treatment with Tecartus. Provide supportive care and/or corticosteroids as needed.
  • Tecartus is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the Yescarta and Tecartus REMS Program.

Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), including life-threatening reactions, occurred following treatment with Tecartus. In ZUMA-2, CRS occurred in 91% (75/82) of patients receiving Tecartus, including ≥ Grade 3 CRS in 18% of patients. Among the patients who died after receiving Tecartus, one had a fatal CRS event. The median time to onset of CRS was three days (range: 1 to 13 days) and the median duration of CRS was ten days (range: 1 to 50 days). Among patients with CRS, key manifestations (>10%) included fever (99%), hypotension (60%), hypoxia (37%), chills (33%), tachycardia (37%), headache (24%), fatigue (19%), nausea (13%), alanine aminotransferase increased (13%), aspartate aminotransferase increased (12%), and diarrhea (11%). Serious events associated with CRS included hypotension, fever, hypoxia, acute kidney injury, and tachycardia.

Ensure that a minimum of two doses of tocilizumab are available for each patient prior to infusion of Tecartus. Following infusion, monitor patients for signs and symptoms of CRS daily for at least seven days at the certified healthcare facility, and for four weeks thereafter. Counsel patients to seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms of CRS occur at any time. At the first sign of CRS, institute treatment with supportive care, tocilizumab, or tocilizumab and corticosteroids as indicated.

Neurologic Toxicities, including those that were life-threatening, occurred following treatment with Tecartus. In ZUMA-2, neurologic events occurred in 81% of patients, 37% of whom experienced Grade ≥3 adverse reactions. The median time to onset for neurologic events was six days (range: 1 to 32 days). Neurologic events resolved for 52 out of 66 (79%) patients with a median duration of 21 days (range: 2 to 454 days). Three patients had ongoing neurologic events at the time of death, including one patient with serious encephalopathy. The remaining unresolved neurologic events were either Grade 1 or Grade 2. Fifty-four (66%) patients experienced CRS by the onset of neurological events. Five (6%) patients did not experience CRS with neurologic events and eight patients (10%) developed neurological events after the resolution of CRS. 85% of all treated patients experienced the first CRS or neurological event within the first seven days after Tecartus infusion.

The most common neurologic events (>10%) included encephalopathy (51%), headache (35%), tremor (38%), aphasia (23%), and delirium (16%). Serious events including encephalopathy, aphasia, and seizures occurred.

Monitor patients daily for at least seven days at the certified healthcare facility and for four weeks following infusion for signs and symptoms of neurologic toxicities and treat promptly.

REMS Program: Because of the risk of CRS and neurologic toxicities, Tecartus is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the Yescarta and Tecartus REMS Program which requires that:

  • Healthcare facilities that dispense and administer Tecartus must be enrolled and comply with the REMS requirements. Certified healthcare facilities must have on-site, immediate access to tocilizumab, and ensure that a minimum of two doses of tocilizumab are available for each patient for infusion within two hours after Tecartus infusion, if needed for treatment of CRS.
  • Certified healthcare facilities must ensure that healthcare providers who prescribe, dispense, or administer Tecartus are trained in the management of CRS and neurologic toxicities. Further information is available at www.YescartaTecartusREMS.com or 1-844-454-KITE (5483).

Hypersensitivity Reactions: Serious hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, may occur due to dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or residual gentamicin in Tecartus.

Severe Infections: Severe or life-threatening infections occurred in patients after Tecartus infusion. In ZUMA-2, infections (all grades) occurred in 56% of patients. Grade 3 or higher infections, including bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, occurred in 30% of patients. Tecartus should not be administered to patients with clinically significant active systemic infections. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection before and after infusion and treat appropriately. Administer prophylactic antimicrobials according to local guidelines.

Febrile neutropenia was observed in 6% of patients after Tecartus infusion and may be concurrent with CRS. In the event of febrile neutropenia, evaluate for infection and manage with broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluids, and other supportive care as medically indicated.

Viral Reactivation
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs directed against B cells. Perform screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV in accordance with clinical guidelines before collection of cells for manufacturing.

Prolonged Cytopenias: Patients may exhibit cytopenias for several weeks following lymphodepleting chemotherapy and Tecartus infusion. In ZUMA-2, Grade ≥3 cytopenias not resolved by Day 30 following Tecartus infusion occurred in 55% of patients and included thrombocytopenia (38%), neutropenia (37%), and anemia (17%). Monitor blood counts after infusion.

Hypogammaglobulinemia and B-cell aplasia can occur in patients receiving treatment with Tecartus. In ZUMA-2, hypogammaglobulinemia occurred in 16% of patients. Monitor immunoglobulin levels after treatment with Tecartus and manage using infection precautions, antibiotic prophylaxis, and immunoglobulin replacement. The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines during or following Tecartus treatment has not been studied. Vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended for at least six weeks prior to the start of lymphodepleting chemotherapy, during treatment, and until immune recovery following treatment with Tecartus.

Secondary Malignancies may develop. Monitor life-long for secondary malignancies. In the event that it occurs, contact Kite at 1-844-454-KITE (5483) to obtain instructions on patient samples to collect for testing.

Effects on Ability to Drive and Use Machines: Due to the potential for neurologic events, including altered mental status or seizures, patients are at risk for altered or decreased consciousness or coordination in the 8 weeks following Tecartus infusion. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous activities, such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery, during this period.

Adverse Reactions: The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 20%) were pyrexia, CRS, hypotension, encephalopathy, fatigue, tachycardia, arrhythmia, infection – pathogen unspecified, chills, hypoxia, cough, tremor, musculoskeletal pain, headache, nausea, edema, motor dysfunction, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, dyspnea, rash, insomnia, pleural effusion, and aphasia. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 66% of patients. The most common serious adverse reactions (> 2%) were encephalopathy, pyrexia, infection – pathogen unspecified, CRS, hypoxia, aphasia, renal insufficiency, pleural effusion, respiratory failure, bacterial infections, dyspnea, fatigue, arrhythmia, tachycardia, and viral infections.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING and Medication Guide.

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