BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ORKAMBI® (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) to include use in children ages 2 through 5 years with cystic fibrosis (CF) who have two copies of the F508del-CFTR mutation, making it the first medicine approved to treat the underlying cause of CF in this population. ORKAMBI oral granules are available in two dosage strengths (lumacaftor 100mg/ivacaftor 125mg and lumacaftor 150mg/ivacaftor 188mg) for weight-based dosing. ORKAMBI oral granules should be available for fulfillment within 2 to 4 weeks.
“For the first time, children ages 2 through 5 who have the most common form of CF have a treatment for the underlying cause of their disease,” said Reshma Kewalramani, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Vertex. “We believe it is important to treat the underlying cause of the disease as early as possible and this approval is another significant milestone in our journey to bring effective medicines to all people living with CF.”
This FDA approval is based on a Phase 3 open-label safety study in 60 patients that showed treatment with ORKAMBI was generally safe and well tolerated for 24 weeks, with a safety profile similar to that in patients ages 6 years and older. Improvements in sweat chloride, a secondary endpoint, were observed at week 24 (mean decrease in sweat chloride from baseline of 31.7 mmol/L; 95% CI: -35.7, -27.6, n=49). Researchers also saw changes in key growth parameters, which were also secondary endpoints in the study. The most common adverse event (≥30%) was cough (63%); most adverse events were mild or moderate in severity. Four patients experienced serious adverse events (2 pulmonary exacerbations, 1 gastroenteritis, 1 constipation) and three patients discontinued treatment due to treatment emergent adverse events or elevated liver function tests. These findings were presented at the 41st European Cystic Fibrosis Society Conference in June 2018.
“Cystic fibrosis is a systemic, multi-organ, progressive disease that is present from birth,” said Dr. John McNamara, Medical Director of the cystic fibrosis program at Children’s Minnesota hospital and lead study researcher. “Research suggests ORKAMBI could impact CF outcomes in patients as young as two years old. This approval is a significant development that enables physicians to begin treating the underlying cause of the disease in this population earlier than ever before.”
ORKAMBI was already approved in the U.S. for the treatment of CF in patients ages 6 and older who have two copies of the F508del–CFTR mutation. A Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) line extension for ORKAMBI in children ages 2 through 5 years has been submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) with a decision anticipated in the first half of 2019.
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a rare, life-threatening genetic disease affecting approximately 75,000 people in North America, Europe and Australia.
CF is caused by a defective or missing cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein resulting from mutations in the CFTR gene. Children must inherit two defective CFTR genes — one from each parent — to have CF. There are approximately 2,000 known mutations in the CFTR gene. Some of these mutations, which can be determined by a genetic test, or genotyping test, lead to CF by creating non-working or too few CFTR proteins at the cell surface. The defective function or absence of CFTR protein results in poor flow of salt and water into and out of the cell in a number of organs. In the lungs, this leads to the buildup of abnormally thick, sticky mucus that can cause chronic lung infections and progressive lung damage in many patients that eventually leads to death. The median age of death is in the mid-to-late 20s.
About ORKAMBI (lumacaftor/ivacaftor)
ORKAMBI is a combination of lumacaftor, which is designed to increase the amount of mature protein at the cell surface by targeting the processing and trafficking defect of the F508del CFTR protein, and ivacaftor, which is designed to enhance the function of the CFTR protein once it reaches the cell surface.
Please click here to see the full Prescribing Information for ORKAMBI.
Vertex is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases. In addition to clinical development programs in CF, Vertex has more than a dozen ongoing research programs focused on the underlying mechanisms of other serious diseases.
Founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., Vertex’s headquarters is now located in Boston’s Innovation District. Today, the company has research and development sites and commercial offices in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. Vertex is consistently recognized as one of the industry’s top places to work, including being named to Science magazine’s Top Employers in the life sciences ranking for eight years in a row.
For additional information and the latest updates from the company, please visit www.vrtx.com.
Collaborative History with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. (CFFT)
Vertex initiated its CF research program in 2000 as part of a collaboration with CFFT, the nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. KALYDECO® (ivacaftor), ORKAMBI®(lumacaftor/ivacaftor), SYMDEKO® (tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor), VX-659 and VX-445 were discovered by Vertex as part of this collaboration.