Post Hoc Analysis Indicated That Timing And Magnitude Of Initial Response To Certolizumab Pegol Predicted Likelihood Of Low Disease Activity At Week 28 In Patients With Active Moderate To Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis

BERLIN and BRUSSELS, June 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- UCB today announced data from a post hoc analysis of the REALISTIC (RA Evaluation in Subjects Receiving TNF Inhibitor Certolizumab Pegol) study that were presented this week during the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Berlin, Germany, June 6-9, 2012.

REALISTIC was a phase 3b study, consisting of a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase followed by an open-label extension for >16 weeks in patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis. In the 12-week double-blind phase, 1,063 patients were randomized 4:1 to receive either certolizumab pegol 400 mg at weeks 0, 2, and 4 followed by certolizumab pegol 200 mg every 2 weeks or placebo every 2 weeks, in addition to their current treatment, if any.  Randomization was stratified by prior anti-TNF use, concomitant use of methotrexate at baseline and disease duration (<2 versus > 2 years). 

The post-hoc analysis presented this week included data from patients treated with certolizumab pegol (n=851) during both the 12-week and open-label extension. The magnitude of response was evaluated by measuring the change from baseline in DAS28(ESR) scores or % change from baseline in swollen joint count (SJC). Patients were considered to have demonstrated a response to treatment if their DAS28(ESR) score has decreased by 1.2 points or greater from baseline, and in the case of SJC, seen a reduction of > 29%. The data suggested that the likelihood of achieving low disease activity at week 28 (DAS28 < 3.2) was predicted early in the course of treatment with certolizumab pegol by both the timing and magnitude of initial change in DAS28(ESR) or SJC at week 12.

"For many patients living with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, especially those with a long standing disease history, low disease activity is an appropriate alternative to remission," said Professor Desiree van der Heijde, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands. "Data from this post-hoc analysis suggested that low disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis may be predicted based on the timing and magnitude of an initial clinical response to certolizumab pegol."

Overall, 81.1% of certolizumab pegol treated RA patients had a change in DAS28 > 1.2 and 89.3% had a > 29% change in SJC from baseline by week 12. Failure to achieve low disease activity at week 28 was dependent on the magnitude and timing of change in DAS28(ESR) and SJC up to week 12, with patients achieving DAS28(ESR) changes of less than 1.2 by week 12 having a less than 4% chance of achieving low disease activity at week 28. Similarly, RA patients that failed to achieve a SJC change of 29% by week 12 had a 5% chance of achieving low disease activity at week 28. For all thresholds of clinical response in DAS28(ESR) and SJC, the failure to respond by a later time point was associated with a lower chance of achieving low disease activity at week 28.

In the REALISTIC study the incidence of adverse events (AEs) was comparable between certolizumab pegol (65.1%) and control groups (59.3%) during the double-blind phase of the study.  The most common AEs were upper respiratory or urinary tract infections. Similarly, the incidence of serious AEs was comparable between certolizumab pegol (5.4%) and control groups (6.2%) and the most common serious AEs were infections.

In the European Union, certolizumab pegol in combination with methotrexate (MTX) is approved for the treatment of moderate to severe active RA in adult patients inadequately responsive to DMARDs including MTX. Certolizumab pegol can be given as monotherapy in case of intolerance of MTX or when treatment with MTX is inappropriate.

In the U.S., certolizumab pegol is approved for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. In the U.S., certolizumab pegol is also approved for reducing the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease and maintaining clinical response in adult patients with moderately to severely active disease who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy.

Notes to editors

About REALISTIC

REALISTIC (RA Evaluation in Subjects Receiving TNF Inhibitor Certolizumab Pegol) is a multicenter phase 3b trial in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis who have shown inadequate response to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, including patients with/without prior TNF-inhibitor exposure, with/without concomitant methotrexate or other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs); and varying lengths of disease duration.

Active RA patients with inadequate response to >1 DMARD were randomized 4:1 to Cimzia® 400mg at Weeks 0, 2 and 4 followed by 200mg every 2 weeks or placebo injection (control) every 2 weeks +/- current background therapy. Primary outcome was ACR20 at Week 12. Randomization was stratified by prior TNF inhibitor use, concomitant use of methotrexate (MTX), and disease duration (<2 y vs >2 y). Treatment effect differences between subgroups were assessed by interactions (treatment by covariate) at 10% significance level.

The study demonstrated that – in a diverse group of RA patients reflecting those seen in daily clinical practice (including those with prior TNF-inhibitor use) – addition of Cimzia® to current therapy was associated with a rapid clinical response consistent in all strata, improved function and reduced disease activity.

About CIMZIA®
Cimzia® is the only PEGylated anti-TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor). Cimzia® has a high affinity for human TNF-alpha, selectively neutralizing the pathophysiological effects of TNF-alpha. Over the past decade, TNF-alpha has emerged as a major target of basic research and clinical investigation. This cytokine plays a key role in mediating pathological inflammation, and excess TNF-alpha production has been directly implicated in a wide variety of diseases. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Cimzia® for reducing signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease and maintaining clinical response in adult patients with moderately to severely active disease who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy and for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. Cimzia® in combination with MTX, is approved in the EU for the treatment of moderate to severe active RA in adult patients inadequately responsive to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including MTX. Cimzia® can be given as monotherapy in case of intolerance to MTX or when continued treatment with MTX is inappropriate. UCB is also developing Cimzia® in other autoimmune disease indications. Cimzia® is a registered trademark of UCB PHARMA S.A.

Cimzia® (certolizumab pegol) in the U.S. important safety information


Risk of Serious Infections and Malignancy
Patients treated with CIMZIA are at an increased risk for developing serious infections that may lead to hospitalization or death.  Most patients who developed these infections were taking concomitant immunosuppressants such as methotrexate or corticosteroids.  CIMZIA should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection or sepsis.  Reported infections include:

Active tuberculosis, including reactivation of latent tuberculosis.  Patients with tuberculosis have frequently presented with disseminated or extrapulmonary disease.  Patients should be tested for latent tuberculosis before CIMZIA use and during therapy.  Treatment for latent infection should be initiated prior to CIMZIA use. 


Invasive fungal infections, including histoplasmosis , coccidioidomycosis, candidiasis, aspergillosis, blastomycosis, and pneumocystosis.  Patients with histoplasmosis or other invasive fungal infections may present with disseminated, rather than localized disease.  Antigen and antibody testing for histoplasmosis may be negative in some patients with active infection.  Empiric anti-fungal therapy should be considered in patients at risk for invasive fungal infections who develop severe systemic illness.


Bacterial, viral and other infections due to opportunistic pathogens, including Legionella and Listeria.
The risks and benefits of treatment with CIMZIA should be carefully considered prior to initiating therapy in patients with chronic or recurrent infection.  Patients should be closely monitored for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with CIMZIA, including the possible development of tuberculosis in patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating therapy.

Lymphoma and other malignancies, some fatal, have been reported in children and adolescent patients treated with TNF blockers, of which CIMZIA is a member.  CIMZIA is not indicated for use in pediatric patients.

Patients treated with CIMZIA are at an increased risk for developing serious infections involving various organ systems and sites that may lead to hospitalization or death.  Opportunistic infections due to bacterial, mycobacterial, invasive fungal, viral, parasitic, or other opportunistic pathogens including aspergillosis, blastomycosis, candidiasis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, legionellosis, listeriosis, pneumocystosis and tuberculosis have been reported with TNF blockers.  Patients have frequently presented with disseminated rather than localized disease.

Treatment with CIMZIA should not be initiated in patients with an active infection, including clinically important localized infections. CIMZIA should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection or sepsis.  Patients greater than 65 years of age, patients with co-morbid conditions, and/or patients taking concomitant immunosuppressants (e.g. corticosteroids or methotrexate) may be at a greater risk of infection.  Patients who develop a new infection during treatment with CIMZIA should be closely monitored, undergo a prompt and complete diagnostic workup appropriate for immunocompromised patients, and appropriate antimicrobial therapy should be initiated.  Appropriate empiric antifungal therapy should also be considered while a diagnostic workup is performed for patients who develop a serious systemic illness and reside or travel in regions where mycoses are endemic.

Malignancies
During controlled and open-labeled portions of CIMZIA studies of Crohn's disease and other diseases, malignancies (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) were observed at a rate of 0.5 per 100 patient-years among 4,650 CIMZIA-treated patients versus a rate of 0.6 per 100 patient-years among 1,319 placebo-treated patients. In studies of CIMZIA for Crohn's disease and other investigational uses, there was one case of lymphoma among 2,657 CIMZIA-treated patients and one case of Hodgkin lymphoma among 1,319 placebo-treated patients.  In CIMZIA RA clinical trials (placebo-controlled and open label) a total of three cases of lymphoma were observed among 2,367 patients.  This is approximately 2-fold higher than expected in the general population.  Patients with RA, particularly those with highly active disease, are at a higher risk for the development of lymphoma. The potential role of TNF blocker therapy in the development of malignancies is not known.

Malignancies, some fatal, have been reported among children, adolescents, and young adults who received treatment with TNF-blocking agents (initiation of therapy <18 years of age), of which CIMZIA is a member.  Approximately half of the cases were lymphoma (including Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, while the other cases represented a variety of different malignancies and included rare malignancies associated with immunosuppression and malignancies not usually observed in children and adolescents.  Most of the patients were receiving concomitant immunosuppressants. 

Cases of acute and chronic leukemia have been reported with TNF-blocker use.  Even in the absence of TNF-blocker therapy, patients with RA may be at a higher risk (approximately 2-fold) than the general population for developing leukemia.

Heart Failure
Cases of worsening congestive heart failure (CHF) and new onset CHF have been reported with TNF blockers. CIMZIA has not been formally studied in patients with CHF. Exercise caution when using CIMZIA in patients who have heart failure and monitor them carefully.

Hypersensitivity
Symptoms compatible with hypersensitivity reactions, including angioedema, dyspnea, hypotension, rash, serum sickness, and urticaria, have been reported rarely following CIMZIA administration. If such reactions occur, discontinue further administration of CIMZIA and institute appropriate therapy.

Hepatitis B Reactivation
Use of TNF blockers, including CIMZIA, may increase the risk of reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients who are chronic carriers of this virus. Some cases have been fatal. Evaluate patients at risk for HBV infection for prior evidence of HBV infection before initiating CIMZIA therapy. Exercise caution in prescribing CIMZIA for patients identified as carriers of HBV, with careful evaluation and monitoring prior to and during treatment. In patients who develop HBV reactivation, discontinue CIMZIA and initiate effective anti-viral therapy with appropriate supportive treatment.

Neurologic Reactions
Use of TNF blockers, including CIMZIA, has been associated with rare cases of new onset or exacerbation of clinical symptoms and/or radiographic evidence of central nervous system demyelinating disease, including multiple sclerosis, and with peripheral demyelinating disease, including Guillain-Barre syndrome. Rare cases of neurological disorders, including seizure disorder, optic neuritis, and peripheral neuropathy have been reported in patients treated with CIMZIA. Exercise caution in considering the use of CIMZIA in patients with these disorders.

Hematologic Reactions
Rare reports of pancytopenia, including aplastic anemia, have been reported with TNF blockers. Medically significant cytopenia (e.g., leukopenia, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia) has been infrequently reported with CIMZIA. Advise all patients to seek immediate medical attention if they develop signs and symptoms suggestive of blood dyscrasias or infection (e.g., persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, pallor) while on CIMZIA. Consider discontinuation of CIMZIA therapy in patients with confirmed significant hematologic abnormalities.

Drug Interactions
An increased risk of serious infections has been seen in clinical trials of other TNF blocking agents used in combination with anakinra or abatacept.  Formal drug interaction studies have not been performed with rituximab or natalizumab; however because of the nature of the adverse events seen with these combinations with TNF blocker therapy, similar toxicities may also result from the use of CIMZIA in these combinations.  Therefore, the combination of CIMZIA with anakinra, abatacept, rituximab, or natalizumab is not recommended.  Interference with certain coagulation assays has been detected in patients treated with CIMZIA. There is no evidence that CIMZIA therapy has an effect on in vivo coagulation. CIMZIA may cause erroneously elevated aPTT assay results in patients without coagulation abnormalities.

Autoimmunity
Treatment with CIMZIA may result in the formation of autoantibodies and, rarely, in the development of a lupus-like syndrome. Discontinue treatment if symptoms of lupus-like syndrome develop.

Immunizations
Do not administer live vaccines or attenuated vaccines concurrently with CIMZIA.

Adverse Reactions
In controlled Crohn's clinical trials, the most common adverse events that occurred in >5% of CIMZIA patients (n=620) and more frequently than with placebo (n=614) were upper respiratory infection (20% CIMZIA, 13% placebo), urinary tract infection (7% CIMZIA, 6% placebo), and arthralgia (6% CIMZIA, 4% placebo). The proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions in the controlled clinical studies was 8% for CIMZIA and 7% for placebo.

In controlled RA clinical trials, the most common adverse events that occurred in > 3% of patients taking CIMZIA 200 mg every other week with concomitant methotrexate (n=640) and more frequently than with placebo with concomitant methotrexate (n=324) were upper respiratory tract infection (6% CIMZIA, 2% placebo), headache (5% CIMZIA, 4% placebo), hypertension (5% CIMZIA, 2% placebo), nasopharyngitis (5% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), back pain (4% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), pyrexia (3% CIMZIA, 2% placebo), pharyngitis (3% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), rash (3% CIMZIA, 1% placebo), acute bronchitis (3% CIMZIA,1% placebo), fatigue (3% CIMZIA, 2% placebo). Hypertensive adverse reactions were observed more frequently in patients receiving CIMZIA than in controls.  These adverse reactions occurred more frequently among patients with a baseline history of hypertension and among patients receiving concomitant corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  Patients receiving CIMZIA 400mg as monotherapy every 4 weeks in RA controlled clinical trials had similar adverse reactions to those patients receiving CIMZIA 200mg every other week. The proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions in the controlled clinical studies was 5% for CIMZIA and 2.5% for placebo.

Please consult the full prescribing information in relation to other side effects, full safety and prescribing information: www.ucb.com

Cimzia® (certolizumab pegol) in European Union/ EEA important safety information
Cimzia® was studied in 2,367 patients with RA in controlled and open label trials for up to 57 months. The commonly reported adverse reactions (1-10%) in clinical trials with Cimzia® and post-marketing were viral infections (includes herpes, papillomavirus, influenza), bacterial infections (including abscess), rash, headache (including migraine), asthenia, leukopaenia (including lymphopaenia, neutropaenia), eosinophilic disorder, pain (any sites), pyrexia, sensory abnormalities, hypertension, pruritis (any sites), hepatitis (including hepatic enzyme increase) and injection site reactions. Serious adverse reactions include sepsis, opportunistic infections, tuberculosis, herpes zoster, lymphoma, leukaemia, solid organ tumours, angioneurotic edema, cardiomyopathies (includes heart failure), ischemic coronary artery disorders, pancytopaenia, hypercoagulation (including thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism), cerebrovascular accident, vasculitis, hepatitis/hepatopathy (includes cirrhosis), and renal impairment/nephropathy (includes nephritis). In RA controlled clinical trials, 5% of patients discontinued taking Cimzia® due to adverse events vs. 2.5% for placebo.

Cimzia® is contraindicated in patients with hypersensitivity to the active substance or any of the excipients, active tuberculosis or other severe infections such as sepsis or opportunistic infections or moderate to severe heart failure.

Serious infections including sepsis, tuberculosis and opportunistic infections have been reported in patients receiving Cimzia®. Some of these events have been fatal. Monitor patients closely for signs and symptoms of infections including tuberculosis before, during and after treatment with Cimzia®. Treatment with Cimzia must not be initiated in patients with a clinically important active infection. If an infection develops, monitor carefully and stop Cimzia® if infection becomes serious.  Before initiation of therapy with Cimzia®, all patients must be evaluated for both active and inactive (latent) tuberculosis infection. If active tuberculosis is diagnosed prior to or during treatment, Cimzia® therapy must not be initiated and must be discontinued. If latent tuberculosis is diagnosed, appropriate anti-tuberculosis therapy must be started before initiating treatment with Cimzia®. Patients should be instructed to seek medical advice if signs/symptoms (e.g. persistent cough, wasting/weight loss, low grade fever, listlessness) suggestive of tuberculosis occur during or after therapy with Cimzia®.

Reactivation of hepatitis B has occurred in patients receiving a TNF-antagonist including Cimzia® who are chronic carriers of the virus (i.e. surface antigen positive). Some cases have had a fatal outcome. Patients should be tested for HBV infection before initiating treatment with Cimzia®. Carriers of HBV who require treatment with Cimzia® should be closely monitored and in the case of HBV reactivation Cimzia® should be stopped and effective anti-viral therapy with appropriate supportive treatment should be initiated.

TNF antagonists including Cimzia® may increase the risk of new onset or exacerbation of clinical symptoms and/or radiographic evidence of demyelinating disease; of formation of autoantibodies and uncommonly of the development of a lupus-like syndrome; of severe hypersensitivity reactions. If a patient develops any of these adverse reactions, Cimzia® should be discontinued and appropriate therapy instituted.

With the current knowledge, a possible risk for the development of lymphomas, leukaemia or other malignancies in patients treated with a TNF antagonist cannot be excluded. Rare cases of neurological disorders, including seizure disorder, neuritis and peripheral neuropathy, have been reported in patients treated with Cimzia®.

Adverse reactions of the hematologic system, including medically significant cytopenia, have been infrequently reported with Cimzia®. Advise all patients to seek immediate medical attention if they develop signs and symptoms suggestive of blood dyscrasias or infection (e.g., persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, pallor) while on Cimzia®. Consider discontinuation of Cimzia® therapy in patients with confirmed significant haematological abnormalities.

The use of Cimzia® in combination with anakinra or abatacept is not recommended due to a potential increased risk of serious infections. As no data are available, Cimzia® should not be administered concurrently with live vaccines or attenuated vaccines. The 14-day half-life of Cimzia® should be taken into consideration if a surgical procedure is planned. A patient who requires surgery while on Cimzia® should be closely monitored for infections.

Please consult the full prescribing information in relation to other side effects, full safety and prescribing information. European SmPC date of revision November 2011.

http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_-_Product_Information/human/001037/WC500069763.pdf

For further information
Eimear O'Brien, Director, Brand Communications
T +32.2.559.9271, Eimear.OBrien@ucb.com

Andrea Levin, Associate Director, U.S. Communications and Public Relations
T +1.770.970.8352, Andrea.Levin@ucb.com

Antje Witte, Investor Relations, UCB
T +32.2.559.9414, Antje.Witte@ucb.com

France Nivelle, Global Communications, UCB
T +32.2.559.9178, France.Nivelle@ucb.com

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 8,500 people in about 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.2 billion in 2011. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

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Posted: June 2012

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