BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved SYMDEKO™ (tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor) for treating the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis (CF) in people ages 12 and older who have two copies of the F508del mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene or who have at least one mutation that is responsive to tezacaftor/ivacaftor. SYMDEKO is Vertex’s third medicine approved to treat the underlying cause of CF. Vertex is ready to launch SYMDEKO and will begin shipping it to pharmacies in the United States this week.
“Today is an exciting day for the CF community. The approval of SYMDEKO, our third disease-modifying CF medicine, offers many patients an important new treatment option,” said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Vertex’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This approval is an important milestone in our journey to treat every person with CF, and we remain committed to urgently advancing our efforts to develop new medicines that treat the underlying cause of CF for the many people still waiting.”
In November 2017, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of two Phase 3 studies of SYMDEKO. These studies, named EVOLVE and EXPAND, enrolled approximately 750 people with CF ages 12 and older with two copies of the F508del mutation or with one F508del mutation and one mutation that results in residual CFTR function. Across both studies, patients treated with SYMDEKO experienced statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in lung function and other measures of disease, with a favorable safety profile. The most common adverse events, regardless of treatment group, included infective pulmonary exacerbation and cough. The first data from the ongoing EXTEND rollover study, also presented in November, show that the lung function improvements and the safety and tolerability profiles seen in EVOLVE and EXPAND were sustained for up to 48 total weeks of SYMDEKO treatment.
“We’ve already seen the significant impact that disease-modifying medicines can have on patients and are incredibly pleased that there is now a third treatment option that enables more patients to benefit from CFTR modulation,” said Patrick Flume, M.D., Director of the Medical University of South Carolina Cystic Fibrosis Center and Principal Investigator for the EXTEND study. “In particular, SYMDEKO is an important treatment option for patients who either never started or discontinued ORKAMBI, and it also provides increased benefit over KALYDECO alone for patients with residual function mutations.”
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has validated the Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for the tezacaftor/ivacaftor combination. The company expects approval in the EU in the second half of 2018.
Helping Patients Access SYMDEKO
The people who work at Vertex understand that medicines can only help patients who can get them. The Vertex Guidance & Patient Support (Vertex GPS™) program provides a team of Vertex employees dedicated to helping eligible patients who have been prescribed our medicines within their labeled indications understand their insurance benefits and the resources that are available to help them.
Vertex also offers a co-pay assistance program for patients with commercial insurance coverage and a free medicine program for qualifying patients who are uninsured and who meet certain income and other eligibility criteria. More information is available by visiting www.VertexGPS.com or by calling 1-877-752-5933.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a rare, life-shortening 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 SYMDEKO™ (tezacaftor/ivacaftor and ivacaftor)
Some mutations result in CFTR protein that is not processed or folded normally within the cell, and that generally does not reach the cell surface. SYMDEKO is a combination of tezacaftor and ivacaftor. Tezacaftor is designed to address the trafficking and processing defect of the CFTR protein to enable it to reach the cell surface where ivacaftor can increase the amount of time the protein stays open.
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-440, VX-152, VX-659 and VX-445 were discovered by Vertex as part of this collaboration.
February 12, 2018