Updated Data Shows ONIVYDE® (irinotecan liposome injection) Combination Regimen Increased One Year Survival by 63% in Patients with Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Results based on an updated analysis from the NAPOLI-1 Phase 3 study in post-gemcitabine pancreatic cancer

Additional data to be presented at the ASCO GI 2016 conference indicate observed overall survival and progression free survival benefits for the ONIVYDE combination regimen compared to 5-FU and leucovorin alone were greatest among patients with the highest baseline CA19-9 levels

Jan 19, 2016, 18:58 ET from Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: MACK) today announced that an updated overall survival analysis of the Phase 3 NAPOLI-1 study of ONIVYDE® (irinotecan liposome injection) in combination with fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin achieved a substantial improvement in 12-month overall survival in patients with post-gemcitabine metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma when compared to 5-FU and leucovorin alone. These updated data will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2016 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (ASCO GI), January 21-23, 2016, in San Francisco.

Analysis of the updated data supports the robustness of the overall survival benefit of the ONIVYDE combination therapy observed in the primary analysis of the NAPOLI-1 trial. Updated findings showed one in four patients treated with ONIVYDE survived a milestone of one year or more: 12-month overall survival estimates of 26% (95% CI, 18-35%) for ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU and leucovorin, a 63% improvement when compared to 16% (95% CI, 10-24%) for 5-FU and leucovorin alone. No new safety or tolerability concerns were note in the updated analysis.

"Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with dismal survival," said Andrea Wang-Gillam, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the NAPOLI-1 article and Associate Professor of Medicine, Clinical Director of GI Oncology Program, Division of Oncology, at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. "These updated findings reinforce the overall survival benefit of ONIVYDE in treating patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma who have progressed after gemcitabine-based therapy. With a significant improvement in the 12-month overall survival rate and a well-defined safety and tolerability profile, the ONIVYDE combination regimen is well-positioned to become the standard of care in the post-gemcitabine setting. This new therapy offers hope for extended life expectancy in a patient population with limited options."

Methodology and Results:

Updated overall survival analysis of NAPOLI-1: Phase 3 study of nanoliposomal irinotecan (nal-IRI, MM-398), with or without 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin (5-FU/LV), versus 5-FU/LV in metastatic pancreatic cancer (mPAC) previously treated with gemcitabine-based therapy (Abstract #417, Board L11)

In this analysis of updated data from the NAPOLI-1 study, the previously described overall survival and progression free survival benefits were maintained for the ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU and leucovorin arm compared with 5-FU and leucovorin alone. This data analysis presents updated estimates of overall survival based on 378 events and includes data from all patients randomized across the three arms of the study. Twelve-month survival estimates for ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU and leucovorin were 26% (95% CI, 18-35%) compared to 16% (95% CI, 10-24%) for 5-FU and leucovorin alone. Six-month survival estimates were 53% (95% CI, 44-62%) for the ONIVYDE combination regimen versus 38% (95% CI, 29-47%) for 5-FU and leucovorin. No new safety or tolerability concerns were noted in the updated data analysis. The most common grade 3+ adverse events occurring at a ≥ 2% incidence in the ONIVYDE-containing arms were neutropenia, diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue. 

Effect of baseline carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) level on overall survival (OS) in NAPOLI-1 trial: A Phase 3 study of MM-398 (nal-IRI), with or without 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin (5-FU/LV), versus 5-FU/LV in metastatic pancreatic cancer (mPAC) previously treated with gemcitabine-based therapy (Abstract #425, Board L19)

Carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) has been shown to correlate with response to therapy and overall survival in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. In this updated analysis of NAPOLI-1 data, patients with a recorded baseline CA19-9 measurement were divided into quartiles to evaluate the treatment effect pattern of CA19-9 levels with ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU and leucovorin or 5-FU and leucovorin alone. A total of 213 patients treated with the ONIVYDE combination regimen or 5-FU and leucovorin alone had a baseline CA19-9 measurement and were included in this analysis. Results show the observed overall survival and progression free survival benefits for the ONIVYDE combination regimen compared to 5-FU and leucovorin alone were greatest among patients with the highest baseline CA19-9 levels. These results suggest that baseline CA19-9 levels are associated with the treatment effect observed for the ONIVYDE combination regimen in metastatic pancreatic cancer patients.

About NAPOLI-1

NAPOLI-1 was a randomized, open label Phase 3 study in patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas who received prior gemcitabine-based therapy, and was the largest Phase 3 study in this setting to date. Patients were enrolled at 76 sites in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. 

The study evaluated ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU and leucovorin administered every two weeks and as a monotherapy administered every three weeks. Each ONIVYDE containing arm was compared to a control arm of 5-FU and leucovorin. A total of 417 patients were randomized across the three arms. The primary endpoint of the study was overall survival. Primary survival analysis was based on 313 events and showed that ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU and leucovorin significantly improved overall survival versus 5-FU and leucovorin alone:  6.1 months vs 4.2 months (p=0.012, unstratified hazard ratio (HR) =0.67, 95% CI: [0.49-0.92]). The monotherapy regimen in this study did not show improvement over the 5-FU and leucovorin arm: 4.9 vs 4.2 months (p=0.94, HR=0.99, 95% CI: [0.77-1.28]).

The primary NAPOLI-1 study results were the basis of the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Taiwan FDA approval of ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU and leucovorin for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas after disease progression following gemcitabine-based therapy. ONIVYDE is not indicated for use as a single agent. ONIVYDE, also known as "nal-IRI," is the first and only FDA-approved therapy in this setting.

Merrimack and Baxalta Incorporated (NYSE: BXLT) have entered into an exclusive licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of ONIVYDE outside of the United States and Taiwan. Baxalta's marketing authorization application for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas who have been previously treated with gemcitabine-based therapy is currently under review with the European Medicines Agency. PharmaEngine, Inc. (Taipei, Taiwan) holds the rights to commercialize ONIVYDE in Taiwan and received the Taiwan FDA approval of ONIVYDE on October 22, 2015.

About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a rare and deadly disease. There are approximately 49,000 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the United States2, the overwhelming majority of who have adenocarcinoma3. Globally there are approximately 338,000 new cases each year4. Most patients receive gemcitabine-based therapy during either adjuvant/neoadjuvant treatment for locally advanced disease or during first- or second-line therapy for metastatic disease5, but are left with no standard of care therapy upon progression. ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU and leucovorin is now approved in the U.S. and Taiwan for these patients whose disease has progressed following gemcitabine-based therapy.

About ONIVYDE® [pronounced \ 'on - ih – vide \]

ONIVYDE® (irinotecan liposome injection), also known as MM-398 or "nal-IRI," is a novel encapsulation of irinotecan in a liposomal formulation. The activated form of irinotecan is SN-38, which functions by inhibiting topoisomerase I (an essential enzyme involved in DNA transcription and replication) and promoting cell death. ONIVYDE was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in combination with fluorouracil and leucovorin for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas after disease progression following gemcitabine-based therapy.  For full prescribing information, including Boxed WARNING, please visit www.ONIVYDE.com.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

INDICATION
ONIVYDE® (irinotecan liposome injection) is indicated, in combination with fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV), for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas after disease progression following gemcitabine-based therapy.

Limitation of Use: ONIVYDE is not indicated as a single agent for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

WARNING: SEVERE NEUTROPENIA and SEVERE DIARRHEA


Fatal neutropenic sepsis occurred in 0.8% of patients receiving ONIVYDE. Severe or life-threatening neutropenic fever or sepsis occurred in 3% and severe or life-threatening neutropenia occurred in 20% of patients receiving ONIVYDE in combination with fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV). Withhold ONIVYDE for absolute neutrophil count below 1500/mm3 or neutropenic fever. Monitor blood cell counts periodically during treatment.


Severe diarrhea occurred in 13% of patients receiving ONIVYDE in combination with 5-FU/LV. Do not administer ONIVYDE to patients with bowel obstruction. Withhold ONIVYDE for diarrhea of Grade 2-4 severity. Administer loperamide for late diarrhea of any severity. Administer atropine, if not contraindicated, for early diarrhea of any severity.

CONTRAINDICATION
ONIVYDE is contraindicated in patients who have experienced a severe hypersensitivity reaction to ONIVYDE or irinotecan HCl.

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Severe Neutropenia
ONIVYDE can cause severe or life-threatening neutropenia and fatal neutropenic sepsis. In a clinical study, the incidence of fatal neutropenic sepsis was 0.8% among patients receiving ONIVYDE, occurring in 1/117 patients in the ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV arm and 1/147 patients receiving ONIVYDE as a single agent. Severe or life-threatening neutropenia occurred in 20% of patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV vs 2% of patients receiving 5-FU/LV. Grade 3/4 neutropenic fever/neutropenic sepsis occurred in 3% of patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV, and did not occur in patients receiving 5-FU/LV.

In patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV, the incidence of Grade 3/4 neutropenia was higher among Asian (18/33 [55%]) vs White patients (13/73 [18%]). Neutropenic fever/neutropenic sepsis was reported in 6% of Asian vs 1% of White patients.

Severe Diarrhea
ONIVYDE can cause severe and life-threatening diarrhea. Do not administer ONIVYDE to patients with bowel obstruction. Severe and life-threatening late-onset (onset >24 hours after chemotherapy) and early-onset diarrhea (onset ≤24 hours after chemotherapy, sometimes with other symptoms of cholinergic reaction) were observed. An individual patient may experience both early- and late-onset diarrhea.

In a clinical study, Grade 3/4 diarrhea occurred in 13% of patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV vs 4% receiving 5-FU/LV. Grade 3/4 late-onset diarrhea occurred in 9% of patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV vs 4% in patients receiving 5-FU/LV; the incidences of early-onset diarrhea were 3% and no Grade 3/4 incidences, respectively. Of patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV, 34% received loperamide for late-onset diarrhea and 26% received atropine for early-onset diarrhea.

Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)
Irinotecan HCl can cause severe and fatal ILD. Withhold ONIVYDE in patients with new or progressive dyspnea, cough, and fever, pending diagnostic evaluation. Discontinue ONIVYDE in patients with a confirmed diagnosis of ILD.

Severe Hypersensitivity Reactions
Irinotecan HCl can cause severe hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylactic reactions. Permanently discontinue ONIVYDE in patients who experience a severe hypersensitivity reaction.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity
Based on animal data with irinotecan HCl and the mechanism of action of ONIVYDE, ONIVYDE can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during and for 1 month after ONIVYDE treatment.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

  • The most common (≥20%) adverse reactions in which patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV experienced a ≥5% higher incidence of any Grade vs the 5-FU/LV arm, were diarrhea (any 59%, 26%; severe 13%, 4%) (early diarrhea [any 30%, 15%; severe 3%, 0%], late diarrhea [any 43%, 17%; severe 9%, 4%]), fatigue/asthenia (any 56%, 43%; severe 21%, 10%), vomiting (any 52%, 26%; severe 11%, 3%), nausea (any 51%, 34%; severe 8%, 4%), decreased appetite (any 44%, 32%; severe 4%, 2%), stomatitis (any 32%, 12%; severe 4%, 1%), pyrexia (any 23%, 11%; severe 2%, 1%).
  • Of less common (<20%) adverse reactions, patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV who experienced Grade 3/4 adverse reactions at a ≥2% higher incidence of Grade 3/4 toxicity vs the 5-FU/LV arm, respectively, were sepsis (3%, 1%), neutropenic fever/neutropenic sepsis (3%, 0%), gastroenteritis (3%, 0%), intravenous catheter-related infection (3%, 0%), weight loss (2%, 0%), and dehydration (4%, 2%).
  • The laboratory abnormalities in which patients receiving ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV experienced a ≥5% higher incidence vs the 5-FU/LV arm, were anemia (any 97%, 86%; severe 6%, 5%), lymphopenia (any 81%, 75%; severe 27%, 17%), neutropenia (any 52%, 6%; severe 20%, 2%), thrombocytopenia (any 41%, 33%; severe 2%, 0%), increased alanine aminotransferase (any 51%, 37%; severe 6%, 1%), hypoalbuminemia (any 43%, 30%; severe 2%, 0%), hypomagnesemia (any 35%, 21%; severe 0%, 0%), hypokalemia (any 32%, 19%; severe 2%, 2%), hypocalcemia (any 32%, 20%; severe 1%, 0%), hypophosphatemia (any 29%, 18%; severe 4%, 1%), hyponatremia (any 27%, 12%; severe 5%, 3%), increased creatinine (any 18%, 13%; severe 0%, 0%).
  • ONIVYDE can cause cholinergic reactions manifesting as rhinitis, increased salivation, flushing, bradycardia, miosis, lacrimation, diaphoresis, and intestinal hyperperistalsis with abdominal cramping and early-onset diarrhea. Grade 1/2 cholinergic symptoms other than early diarrhea occurred in 12 (4.5%) ONIVYDE-treated patients.
  • Infusion reactions, consisting of rash, urticaria, periorbital edema, or pruritus, occurring on the day of ONIVYDE administration were reported in 3% of patients receiving ONIVYDE or ONIVYDE/5-FU/LV.
  • The most common serious adverse reactions (≥2%) of ONIVYDE were diarrhea, vomiting, neutropenic fever or neutropenic sepsis, nausea, pyrexia, sepsis, dehydration, septic shock, pneumonia, acute renal failure, and thrombocytopenia.

DRUG INTERACTIONS
Avoid the use of strong CYP3A4 inducers, if possible, and substitute non-enzyme–inducing therapies ≥2 weeks prior to initiation of ONIVYDE. Avoid the use of strong CYP3A4 or UGT1A1 inhibitors, if possible, and discontinue strong CYP3A4 inhibitors ≥1 week prior to starting therapy.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Pregnancy and Reproductive Potential
Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise males with female partners of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during and for 4 months after ONIVYDE treatment.

Lactation
Advise nursing women not to breastfeed during and for 1 month after ONIVYDE treatment.

Pediatric
Safety and effectiveness of ONIVYDE have not been established in pediatric patients.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
The recommended dose of ONIVYDE is 70 mg/m2 intravenous (IV) infusion over 90 minutes every 2 weeks, administered prior to LV and 5-FU. The recommended starting dose of ONIVYDE in patients known to be homozygous for the UGT1A1*28 allele is 50 mg/m2 administered by IV infusion over 90 minutes. There is no recommended dose of ONIVYDE for patients with serum bilirubin above the upper limit of normal. Premedicate with a corticosteroid and an anti-emetic 30 minutes prior to ONIVYDE. Withhold ONIVYDE for Grade 3/4 adverse reactions. Resume ONIVYDE with reduced dose once adverse reaction recovered to ≤Grade 1. Discontinue ONIVYDE in patients who experience a severe hypersensitivity reaction and in patients with a confirmed diagnosis of ILD.

Do not substitute ONIVYDE for other drugs containing irinotecan HCl.

Please see full U.S. Prescribing Information for ONIVYDE.

About Merrimack
Merrimack is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company that views cancer as a complex engineering challenge. Through systems biology, which brings together the fields of biology, computing and engineering, Merrimack aims to decrease uncertainty in drug development and clinical validation, and move discovery efforts beyond trial and error. Such an approach has the potential to make individualized treatment of patients a reality. Merrimack's first commercial product, ONIVYDE® (irinotecan liposome injection), was approved by the U.S. FDA on October 22, 2015. With four additional candidates in clinical studies, several in preclinical development and multiple biomarkers designed to support patient selection, Merrimack is building one of the most robust oncology pipelines in the industry. For more information, please visit Merrimack's website at www.merrimack.com or connect on Twitter at @MerrimackPharma.

Forward-Looking Statements
To the extent that statements contained in this press release are not descriptions of historical facts, they are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements include any statements about Merrimack's strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenues and future expectations and plans and prospects for Merrimack, and any other statements containing the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "target," "potential," "will," "would," "could," "should," "continue," and similar expressions. In this press release, Merrimack's forward-looking statements include, among others, statements about the potential effectiveness and safety profile of ONIVYDE. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause Merrimack's clinical development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the initiation of future clinical trials, availability of data from ongoing clinical trials, expectations for regulatory approvals, development progress of Merrimack's companion diagnostics, availability of funding sufficient for Merrimack's foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements, and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of Merrimack's products, product candidates or companion diagnostics. Merrimack undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Merrimack's views as of any date subsequent to the date hereof. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to Merrimack's business in general, see the "Risk Factors" section of Merrimack's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 9, 2015 and other reports Merrimack files with the SEC.

Contacts:
Media Contact:
Marianne McMorrow
774-776-1478
mmcmorrow@merrimack.com

Investor Contact:
Geoffrey Grande, CFA
617-441-7602
ggrande@merrimack.com

1Wang-Gillam A, et.al. Nanoliposomal irinotecan with fluorouracil and folinic acid in metastatic pancreatic cancer after previous gemcitabine-based therapy (NAPOLI-1): a global, randomized, open-label phase 3 trial. The Lancet. Published online in advance of print November 22, 2015.
2
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2015. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2015.
3American Cancer Society. Pancreatic Cancer Overview. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2015.
4World Health Organization. GLOBOCAN 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012; Lyon, Fr.: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2012.
5Data presented at ASCO 2014 (Abrams et al.).

SOURCE Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.



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