NEW YORK & INDIANAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) today announced the outcome of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Joint Arthritis Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee on tanezumab. There was a single voting question focused on whether the proposed risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) for tanezumab will ensure its benefits outweigh its risks, and the Committee voted 1 in favor and 19 against. Tanezumab 2.5 mg administered subcutaneously (SC) every eight weeks is being evaluated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis (OA) pain in adult patients for whom use of other analgesics is ineffective or not appropriate. Tanezumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody in a new class of medicines called nerve growth factor (NGF) inhibitors, which work in a different manner than currently available treatments such as opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other analgesics. In studies to date, tanezumab has not demonstrated a risk of addiction, misuse or dependence.
“While we are disappointed with today’s outcome, we continue to believe that tanezumab has a positive benefit-risk profile for patients with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis pain for whom current treatments are ineffective or not appropriate. Many of these patients have exhausted available therapies, have not had a new class of medications available to them in more than a decade and are eager for new, non-opioid options,” said Ken Verburg, tanezumab development team leader, Pfizer Global Product Development. “We will continue to work with the FDA as the agency continues its review of our application.”
The Advisory Committee’s discussions were based on the Biologics License Application (BLA) currently under review by the FDA. The BLA includes data from 20 Phase 1-3 clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of tanezumab administered intravenously or SC in patients with OA, including three pivotal Phase 3 SC studies involving more than 4,500 patients with moderate-to-severe OA.
“The dialogue during the open public forum of this week’s Advisory Committee meeting reinforced the urgent need for innovation for people living with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis pain – many of whom cycle through three to four therapies each year without adequate relief. The unresolved pain can impact all aspects of their lives, creating physical, emotional, social and financial hardships,” said Ilya Yuffa, president, Lilly Bio-Medicines.
Advisory Committees provide the FDA with independent opinions and recommendations from outside medical experts during the regulatory review process; however, the recommendations are not binding.
“Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and poses unique challenges for patients,” said Steven Taylor, executive vice president, mission & strategic initiatives for the Arthritis Foundation. “Despite its far-reaching impact, many patients still live with debilitating pain and have exhausted or are unable to take or tolerate currently available therapies. That is why the Arthritis Foundation advocates for innovative treatment solutions and a patient-centered approach to managing chronic pain for those with osteoarthritis.”
Tanezumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody that works by selectively targeting, binding to and inhibiting NGF. NGF levels increase in the body as a result of injury, inflammation or in chronic pain states. By inhibiting NGF, tanezumab may help to keep pain signals produced by muscles, skin and organs from reaching the spinal cord and brain. Tanezumab has a novel mechanism that acts in the periphery in a different manner than opioids and other analgesics, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and in studies to date, tanezumab has not demonstrated a risk of addiction, misuse or dependence.
OA is a chronic, progressive and disabling disease of the joint that is a leading cause of chronic pain. In the United States, OA impacts an estimated 31 million people, 11 million of whom have moderate-to-severe OA and have been living with the condition for an average of nine years. OA places a significant burden on these patients – the pain can limit their ability to function, which can force compromises in everyday life, negatively impacting their roles and relationships and causing feelings of isolation, frustration and anxiety. OA can also impact their ability to function in the workplace. There is a need for innovation, as currently available treatment options for moderate-to-severe OA do not meet the needs of all patients.
About the Pfizer-Lilly Alliance
In 2013, Pfizer and Lilly entered into a collaboration to develop and commercialize tanezumab. If approved, the companies will jointly commercialize tanezumab in the U.S. and Pfizer will be responsible for commercialization activities outside of the U.S. Pfizer and Lilly are driven by our shared mission to improve the lives of the millions of people who are suffering from moderate-to-severe OA pain, and together, we are leveraging our deep clinical expertise to make a meaningful difference for patients.