AbbVie receives greenlight from NICE for blood cancer treatment

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags AbbVie blood cancer drug blood cancers Biosimilars NICE

AbbVie has announced that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended epcoritamab (tepkinly), its treatment for adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), an aggressive and fast-growing blood cancer, whose cancer has returned or has not responded to at least two previous treatments.

Belinda Byrne, medical director at AbbVie UK, said: “AbbVie is committed to advancing care for people living with blood cancer. We are delighted that NICE has recognised the benefit that epcoritamab can have on the lives of people living with R/R DLBCL. We will continue working closely with the relevant authorities to provide equitable access across the UK for eligible R/R DLBCL patients in need.”

The recommendation is based on the company’s recent phase 1/2 trial data, which demonstrated that 62% of participants’ blood cancer either went down by half or showed no evidence of disease.

The complete response rate was 39%, meaning there was no evidence of disease from tests and scans in 39% of these hard-to-treat patients, who on average had already been through three types of treatment before starting the trial.

Epcoritamab is part of a new class of therapies called bispecific antibodies, which help the body’s immune system attack and destroy cancerous cells.

“Despite recent therapeutic advances, treatment options for this hard-to-treat group of patients have been limited. This can mean many patients do not have suitably effective treatment options, resulting in a poor prognosis,” said Chris Fox, professor of haematology, school of medicine, University of Nottingham.  

“Today’s decision by NICE on epcoritamab provides physicians with a second bispecific antibody as a treatment option for eligible patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma after two or more lines of therapy. Epcoritamab is the first bispecific to be given as a subcutaneous injection which gives patients and clinicians an additional choice of administration option, which may help to support capacity planning within lymphoma services. The decision by NICE will be welcomed by both patients and the clinical community.”

DLBCL is an aggressive blood cancer, with nearly 5,500 new diagnoses in the UK each year.

There are few treatments available for this patient population, and these are typically administered intravenously, via a needle or tube inserted into a vein, in a hospital setting.

While epcoritamab is also given in a hospital setting, it is administered subcutaneously, as an injection under the skin, weekly for 12 weeks, then every other week for 24 weeks, before continuing as one injection every 4 weeks until treatment is discontinued, either due to cancer progression or side effects.

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